A man who allegedly corrupted former top crime fighter Mark Standen, plotting with him to import enough precursor drugs to make $120 million of the drug ice, has finally been extradited to Australia to face trial.
Fairfax can reveal that British national James Henry Kinch was flown to Sydney two weeks ago, after more than four years in a Thai jail.
Now 54, Kinch had been in Thailand's Klong Prem prison since his arrest in June 2008. He was arrested as Dutch and Australian authorities also swooped on their targets as part of investigations into an international drug-smuggling cartel.
Standen and a third co-accused, Bakhos "Bill" Jalalaty, have been convicted over their part in the conspiracy.
Kinch has been charged with 20 offences, including that he conspired to pervert the course of justice, conspired to export a commercial quantity of drugs, that he engaged in the supply of a commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, and that he knowingly possessed money or other property that were the proceeds of crime.
He will face Sydney's Central Local Court on Friday.
Standen's Supreme Court trial last year heard that the former top police investigator had first met Kinch when he was the assistant director of the secretive and powerful NSW Crime Commission.
In an email to his colleagues at the Commission in 2002, Standen told his investigators Kinch was a "high-profile target capable of importing very large quantities of drugs to the UK and Australia".
But by midway through the following year, Kinch was no longer a "target" — he was an informant, and Standen was his handler.
Kinch was detained in Australia in 2002 but left Australian shores in February 2004, after Standen applied to the DPP to have the charges against him dropped.
Five years later, the pair were arrested, accused of conspiring to import a commercial quantity of pseudoephedrine to make speed or ice.
In his own evidence to the jury, Standen continued to deny the allegations, saying he became friends with Kinch, believing he wanted to "disengage from crime".
He said Kinch provided "a great deal of information", including the location of 72kg of ecstasy in a storage shed. Other information related to a major Dutch drug syndicate, which was passed on to authorities in the Netherlands.
He said he maintained contact and received information from Kinch after he left the country following the dropping of his charges and his forfeiture of more than $900,000 to the commission.
Standen said the informant/handler relationship, which was supposed to be thoroughly documented and reported to colleagues, was not in existence "in a formal sense", but he "had expectations that I would hear from him if he heard of things of interest to me in Australia".
He said Kinch kept him updated on his efforts to make an honest living, which included an investment company in Dubai.
Standen and Jalalaty travelled to Dubai on one occasion, and had dinner with Kinch there. This meeting was not reported to his colleagues at NSW Crime Commission.
Standen and Jalalaty were jailed for a minimum of 16 and six years respectively.