‘Now my grandson’s a bastard’: Ibrahims duped by sheik
Being a member of Sydney's feared Ibrahim clan doesn't make you immune from being ripped off financially.
Just ask Maha Sayour, the sister of Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim.
Ms Sayour, claimed in a phone call - taped by police - that she was swindled out of $1000 by a Lidcombe based "sheik" who was angling to squeeze her for more money.
Ms Sayour was angry at both what she considered a scam, and because her grandson was technically born out of wedlock when the sheik had not registered the Islamic marriage of her daughter Sarah with the NSW Government.
On March 3, 2017, she called her brother Michael Ibrahim to complain and formulate a plan to take down the man they refer to as the sheik.
"My daughter got married a year … ago … Her son's a bastard in the (eyes of the) Australian Government," an exasperated Ms Sayour, who later legally changed her name to Jazz Dior, said during the call.
Police were listening in because Michael's phone was being tapped by detectives who had him under investigation for a plot to smuggle almost two tonnes of drugs into Australia - for which he was sentenced to a maximum 30 years jail in May.
Ms Sayour has also had several brushes with the law. In 2017, she was sentenced to an 18 months intensive corrections order over a gun supply plot with brother Sam Ibrahim and ex Rose Tattoo drummer Paul DeMarco.
In 2011 she was found not guilty after almost $3 million cash was found in the roof of her home - some of which was linked to John Ibrahim. Mr Ibrahim was not charged and there is no suggestion John Ibrahim is linked to criminal behaviour.
During her call to Michael, which was tendered in court, Ms Sayour angrily said the sheik charged her $1000 to perform the religious ceremony for her daughter Sarah's marriage in March 2016.
But he never registered the paperwork with the NSW Government and was now demanding another $500 to finish the job, Ms Sayour said in the call. In the meantime Sarah had had a baby boy.
The problem was discovered when Sarah had contacted the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages about her marriage certificate.
"They say to her, 'You're not married'," Ms Sayour said in the call. "She goes, 'What do you mean, I'm not married?'."
Ms Sayour said she went looking for the sheik, only to find his brother.
"So we go back to the sheik's brother thinking it was him," Ms Sayour said. "He goes 'I'll do (another ceremony) …(but) it's gonna cost you ($)500'."
Ms Sayour explained to the sheik's brother they only wanted the paperwork, not an entire re-run of the ceremony, she said in the call.
When Ms Sayour caught up with the sheik, she claimed he tried to placate her by saying it had not been a year since the ceremony, meaning the paperwork could still be registered. But he also claimed he would need to put a later date on the document for it to be registered.
"I go 'Today is the third of (March) 2017'," Ms Sayour told Michael.
"She's still got … in law 20 more days.
"He goes 'Listen, don't tell me my job. Don't tell me what I can do … we're gonna say she got married today and she can hand in the papers tomorrow. And you just have to pay 500 dollars'," Ms Sayour said.
Ms Sayour told Michael she was not happy with this suggestion given the age of her grandson.
"I go 'How?'. I said that means she just had a big baby," Ms Sayour said. "He goes …'All Australians have babies before they're married anyway'."
Now it was a question of what to do about the sheik.
Michael suggested: "Well, why doesn't someone just go slap him?"
Building on the idea, Michael later said: "I would've went and slapped him … If he's done what he's trying to do now. ($)500 …(then) … 500 slaps."
To be "slapped" is a common phrase used by members of the Ibrahim clan to describe a method of punishment administered for offences ranging from stealing money to speaking ill of loved ones.
Ms Sayour suggested demanding the sheik pay a six figure sum and if he failed then exposing him in the media.
"I go 'OK, no worries. I want a hundred thousand dollars for her compensation from him and he is to lose his license … I go 'Make it a hundred or I will make it three hundred'. He goes 'I will talk to my community'." Ms Sayour told Michael. "I go 'Let me know what you've come up with. You've got till Friday, 10am (or) I'm going to Current Affairs (sic) and 60 Minutes and all the media'."
When Michael said "F**kin' you can't embarrass our religion", Ms Sayour responded: "No. Yeah, I'm only bluffing."
Later in the call, Michael said: "Where does this c**t live? Want me to go bash him for you?"
Ms Sayour declined the offer.
"You watch I'm gonna scare the money out of him," she said.
"He's gonna pay me a hundred thousand in compensation."
Ms Sayour claimed the sheik's brother said there were numerous complaints just like hers.
" … I'm not the only one he's done this to … he's done it to millions of people - heaps of people," she told Michael.
Earlier in the call, Ms Sayour claimed the sheik was ripping people off to fund property investments and said she was exploring other steps to have his licence revoked
"I'm gonna go straight to Pauline Hanson," Ms Sayour said.
Michael suggested posting about the sheik on Facebook to ruin his reputation.
"You go and get Sarah and her husband and put on Facebook, 'All brothers and sisters please don't use this sheik. He done this to us … Don't ever use him for your wedding'. Yeah, and just destroy him … Destroy his reputation," Michael said.
Ms Sayour said the sheik's brother told her: "This is like a business for him and his brothers. He's living off that. He's changing everybody's marriage so they can come back."
Her attitude was simple: "I go 'Well, he's done it to the wrong person … I'm gonna put him in the ground'."
Originally published as 'Now my grandson's a bastard': Ibrahims duped by sheik