Rebels bikie and gangland shooting suspect arrested over Pasquale Barbaro death

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A senior Rebels gang member arrested over the murder of a Sydney underworld figure had also been on the police radar as a suspect in the fatal shooting of a fellow bikie.  

In a series of co-ordinated raids on Tuesday, homicide and gangs squad detectives arrested up to five people, including Abuzar Sultani at Sydney's Olympic Park.

Police carry out raids across Sydney

NSW Police are conducting a number of raids in relation to a series of recent underworld shootings. Vision: Nine News

Mr Sultani was spotted wearing handcuffs with blood on his face, surrounded by police at lunchtime on Australia Avenue. 

He was arrested in connection to the murder of crime figure Pasquale Barbaro, 35, who was killed while getting into his Mercedes in Earlwood two weeks ago.

It is understood Mr Sultani was already in the sights of detectives for his possible involvement in the shooting of  Rebels bikie gang heavy hitter, Mark Easter, in 2015.

Mr Sultani was expected to be charged on Tuesday night in connection Mr Barbaro's death and also questioned over Mr Easter's demise.

Mr Barbaro had been at his friend George Alex's house for dinner before he was gunned down on November 14.

In a surprising twist, the man now in custody over Mr Barbaro's murder was a close associate of Mr Alex, carrying out union deals on behalf of the construction industry identity in the past.

Police take evidence from an upmarket apartment at Sydney's Olympic Park on Tuesday.

Police take evidence from an upmarket apartment at Sydney's Olympic Park on Tuesday. Photo: Wolter Peeters

In 2012, Mr Sultani signed a union deal with the Construction Forestry, Mining and Energy Union's Victorian branch after the agreement was arranged by Melbourne underworld boss Mick Gatto.

Mr Sultani's role as a "gofer" allowed Mr Alex to win work on major Melbourne building sites.


In a police operation on Australia Avenue in Olympic Park, several vehicles were towed away and bags of evidence were ...

In a police operation on Australia Avenue in Olympic Park, several vehicles were towed away and bags of evidence were collected.  Photo: Wolter Peeters

Fairfax Media reported in 2014 on business ties between Mr Sultani and Mr Alex, including the shifting of contracts and assets between companies.

Detectives stressed again after Tuesday's arrests that they did not believe Mr Alex played any role in Mr Barbaro's murder outside his Larkhall Avenue home.

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Pasquale Barbaro was shot dead at Earlwood.

Pasquale Barbaro was shot dead at Earlwood. Photo: Fairfax Media

Fairfax Media has been told Mr Barbaro, a man with countless enemies in the criminal underworld, and Mr Sultani had a long tension-prone history.

While Mr Sultani was known to act as an alleged "heavyweight for hire" he had been suspected of carrying out his own violence for his own reasons in the past, police say.

He is believed to be the alleged ringleader in the slaying of Mr Barbaro.

It is unclear what roles the other people arrested played as police were keeping a tight lid on any details about the operation on Tuesday.

Following a string of gangland shootings in Sydney, police established Strike Force Osprey to oversee several of the homicide investigations.

Among them are eight cases, including Mr Easter's, the sergeant-at-arms of the Rebel's Sydney City chapter, who was last seen leaving his Little Bay home in June 2015.

His bullet-ridden body was found dumped in bushland off the Pacific Highway at Cowan, north of Sydney, days later.

Police believed Mr Easter's death was an "inside job" orchestrated and carried out by someone within the bikie ranks.

Detectives spent several hours at an upmarket Olympic Park apartment block on Tuesday, towing cars away for examination and carrying bags of evidence from the building.

Mr Barbaro was killed after fellow crime figure Hamad Assaad, 29, was shot dead outside his Georges Hall home on October 25.

Mr Assaad had been a suspect in the non-fatal shooting of Mr Barbaro at Leichardt in 2015.

He was also suspected of shooting at Michael Ibrahim, the brother of nightclub boss John Ibrahim, outside a CBD apartment block, in 2015.

Most recently, he was pinned as the suspect in the brazen and public execution of Walid "Wally" Ahmad at Bankstown Shopping Centre in April.

Underworld sources say Mr Assaad had remained tight-lipped initially about his role in standover man Wally's demise but began boasting after realising the heat was off him.

Mr Assaad's brother, Tarek, was charged last week after police raided his home and allegedly found a Glock and up to 30 rounds of ammunition.

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