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Friday, October 16, 2015

Alex Vella wants to come home

Alessio Emanuel Vella was born in Malta and emigrated to Australia with his family when he was 14.  He is now 62 and stuck in Malta, isolated from his wife, children, grandchildren and his elderly mother who all live in Sydney.

He joined the Rebels in 1972 when he was 19 and has been their president for 43 years.  The Rebels is considered to be Australia's largest, and most feared outlaw bikie club.

Vella has held Australian residency for 47 years but not citizenship. Last year when he went back to Malta for a holiday, the Abbott government cancelled his residency visa so he's stuck in Malta and can't come home.

The reason given is that he does not pass the character test and the Rebels are a 'high threat to the Australian community.'

In an interview he did in July from his base in Malta, he said he was not involved in criminality. "I'm innocent I know that, I've done no wrong by nobody but they've shut the door on me and thrown me out of the country - why should I take responsibility for what a club member who done wrong? That's for the law to do their job, not me" he said.

Today his lawyers will launch a last-ditch legal bid to have him allowed back in the country.

Vella was boxing champion of Malta in 1978 and the number five ranked light-heavyweight division fighter in Australia.

He has a considerable property portfolio and a fleet of luxury cars and motor bikes.  Police have tried to prove his wealth has come from illegal activities but so far, haven't been successful.

In 1995 at his Sydney property, police seized $3 million worth of his assets including a Rolls Royce, a Bentley and 44 Harley Davidsons but Vella successfully proved in court they were not proceeds of crime and won his property back a few years later.

Vella's previous legal challenges to reinstate his residency visa have failed and today, his lawyers will ask for special leave to appeal the ruling and if successful, his appeal will be heard before a full bench of the High Court.  If the application for special leave is rejected, there is no other avenue for appeal.

"So I'm okay to be a resident to pay taxes and to vote, but I'm not good enough to live in Australia with my family?  It's wrong mate" he said.