A cryptocurrency founder charged with trafficking cocaine, ice and other drugs has had his bail conditions changed so he can attend his brother’s wedding and bucks night and oversee his chain of souvlaki stores, according to The Age.
Sam Karagiozis, the Lamborghini-driving founder of the Auscoin cryptocurrency, was granted a variation to his bail conditions in the Melbourne Magistrates Court today.
The Greek Australian 29-year-old from Melbourne is charged with 13 offences including importing, possessing and trafficking drugs such as cocaine, MDMA, ketamine and methamphetamine between March 2016 and October 2017.
Mr Karagiozis was charged almost two years ago and granted bail in mid-2019.
In seeking the changes, defence counsel Dermot Dann, QC, said Mr Karagiozis had complied with bail conditions since his release and wanted a curfew condition dropped so he could be best man to his brother George on January 30 and attend the bucks night two weeks earlier.
Mr Dann said the dropping of the curfew would also allow his client to be at his souvlaki stores at night. Mr Karagiozis has up to 10 stores, the court heard, but had been unable to be at any outlets in Melbourne’s outer suburbs because of the nightly curfew.
Magistrate Andrew McKenna questioned what Mr Karagiozis would be doing at the restaurants.
“I doubt he’d be rolling up any souvlakis,” Mr McKenna said.
But Mr Dann argued his client would be working there and not just driving past.
“What he wants to be able to do is be on site at any one of those restaurants as the need arises,” the lawyer said.
Mr McKenna said a family member “implored the court to have a heart” in relation to the wedding in a letter tendered on Mr Karagiozis’s behalf.
Prosecutor Rosalind Avis opposed the application, arguing the case against Mr Karagiozis was strong and police allege he was the “boss” of the drug network.
“He was effectively the head of the operation,” Ms Avis told the court.
But Mr McKenna decided to cancel the curfew and vary the conditions so Mr Karagiozis could attend the stag event and the wedding.
He was barred from discussing the allegations, court case or any proceedings with his alleged co-offender at the events, the magistrate ordered.
“They can discuss how wonderfully well the wedding is going, the weather, the progress of the pandemic but nothing related to these proceedings or these charges,” Mr McKenna said.
He also cancelled Mr Karagiozis’s curfew because of his businesses and labelled it “undesirable and unnecessary”.
Mr Karagiozis must still abide by other conditions including twice-weekly reporting to police, not to contact prosecution witnesses, not to contact his co-accused and not to leave Victoria.
He will next face court in March.