Lamborghini-driving bitcoin trader charged with drug trafficking


The AFP will allege that Mr Karagiozis performed a key position in directing an organised crime syndicate, which used numerous darkish web pages, bitcoin accounts and bonafide companies for the sourcing, cost and distribution of medicine.

A joint taskforce between the AFP and monetary intelligence company AUSTRAC raided properties linked to Mr Karagiozis in Bulleen, Templestowe and Malvern, the place they seized steroids, money and cryptocurrency associated gadgets.

He was refused bail within the Melbourne Magistrates Court final week, after being charged with 14 offences referring to drug importation, trafficking and possession.

Following the arrest, AUSTRAC suspended the registration of two digital foreign money change companies linked to Mr Karagiozis. At the identical, the AFP positioned restraining orders on belongings value greater than $2 million, together with financial institution accounts, actual property, automobiles, money and cryptocurrency.

Auscoin founder Sam Karagiozis poses for a photograph with his Bentley with personalised quantity plates studying MRBTC.

Mr Karagiozis’ arrest final week was linked to raids on properties in Mernda and Kew in October 2017, when AFP officers seized 15.eight kilograms of MDMA, 2.6 kilograms of cocaine and greater than a kilogram of ketamine.

The medicine are understood to have been ordered on the darkish net and despatched to Australia within the publish.

Happy to explain himself as a ‘”hustler”, Mr Karagiozis has been an enthusiastic spruiker of bitcoin and different cyptocurrencies at funding seminars round Australia.

 Sam Karagiozis (centre) poses for a photo with Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios (l) and his brother Christos Kyrgios.

Sam Karagiozis (centre) poses for a photograph with Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios (l) and his brother Christos Kyrgios.

He has rolled out a nationwide community of automated teller machines that change cryptocurrency, whereas his Greek-themed eating places in St Kilda, Thornbury and Far North Queensland permit patrons to buy souvlaki with bitcoin.

His ‘rags to riches’ gross sales pitch would typically make reference to his robust upbringing in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

“For me, being self-made means I started with nothing,” Mr Karagiozis stated on social media.

He left faculty at 15 and labored at a McDonalds restaurant, which he credit for his “relentless work ethic”. He claims to have solely learn one ebook in his life – Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal.

Around the identical time, Mr Karagiozis developed a ardour for weight coaching, based on his on-line profile.

“Sam would often travel two hours return to buy protein powder from the Melbourne CBD and sell them to other employees at McDonald’s. The purpose of this was to cover the cost of Sam’s supplements which allowed him to train.”

Sam Karagiotis has "self made" tattooed across his knuckles.

Sam Karagiotis has “self made” tattooed throughout his knuckles.

At 16, he began his first enterprise, Hellas Nutrition, earlier than shifting into the safety business and later, property improvement.

In 2017, Mr Karagiozis based Auscoin Group, with daring plans to launch his personal cryptocurrency and lift $30 million from the preliminary coin providing (ICO).

He was additionally buying and selling bitcoin, which peaked in worth in December 2017. Mr Karagiozis joined shoppers Nick Kyrgios and older brother Christos within the gamers field on the 2018 Australian Open.

But his scheme to put in 1200 Auscoin ATMs in purchasing centres round Australia and Asia foundered when the providing raised lower than $2 million. Around 30 Australian purchasing centres presently have Auscoin ATMs.

His private fortune took a battering, dropping greater than $5 million in 2018.

Unperturbed, he continued to flaunt his wealth. His secure of luxurious automobiles included a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Bentley Continental with personalised plates “MR BTC”.

Last yr, Mr Karagiozis even launched his personal trend vary that included hoodies with “Team no sleep” and “All or nothing” emblazoned on the again.

As the worth of bitcoin and different cryptocurrencies plummeted, he urged his shoppers and social media followers to disregard destructive sentiment.

“It’s Monday and I have one piece of advice for all you hustlers out there! F**k the Haters! Get out there and take what’s yours. Outwork the competition, help others, stay humble,” he stated in a fb publish in November 2018.

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Mr Karagiozis will face the Melbourne Magistrates Court in June.

AFP Detective Superintendent Paul Hopkins stated concentrating on belongings allowed authorities to take away the revenue motivation that underpins most felony exercise.

Sam Karagiozis poses with one of his Auscoin ATMs

Sam Karagiozis poses with one in every of his Auscoin ATMs

“When you’re taking the revenue out of crime, you hit offenders the place it hurts most,” Detective Superintendent Hopkins stated.

Chris Vedelago is an investigations reporter for The Age with a particular curiosity in crime and justice.

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