Stuart MacGill’s de facto brother-in-law denied being in on the former Test cricketer’s April kidnapping, telling an undercover police officer he was simply trying to help mediate a dispute over a drug transaction.
Marino Sotiropoulos, 47, is one of six men charged over the alleged abduction of Mr MacGill earlier this year linked to a cocaine supply deal between Mr Sotiropoulos and a drug dealer known as “Sonny”, who were introduced to each other by the famed spin bowler at his Neutral Bay restaurant.
Police believe a dispute arose over the deal after Sonny failed to pay for the 2 kilograms of cocaine and disappeared. Mr Sotiropoulos, allegedly representing the suppliers, is alleged to have pressured Mr MacGill to help with compensation and confronted him outside his Cremorne apartment on April 14 before Mr MacGill was forced into a car and driven to a rural south-west Sydney property.
In a successful bail application in the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday, Mr Sotiropoulos’s barrister Ian Lloyd, QC, said his client was stuck in the middle of the dispute and wasn’t aware of the kidnapping plans.
“I didn’t know that was going to happen, yeah,” the court heard Mr Sotiropoulos had said to the undercover operative aiding the police investigation in the period after the incident.
Mr Sotiropoulos, the brother of Mr MacGill’s partner Maria O’Meagher, insisted he was “only trying to help and sort this out” and, asked by the undercover officer if he was working with the kidnappers, said: “No, no, no.”
Crown prosecutor Anthony Brookman said it was not alleged Mr Sotiropoulos was present at the rural Bringelly property with the other accused men, but did facilitate him being abducted on the street by the alleged accomplices.
“He’s present on the street when the [co-accused] abduct the complainant. That’s the Crown case,” Mr Brookman said.
“It’s not alleged that he was in the rural shed punching the complainant in the face. It’s alleged that he organised it.”