The life and times of the late Victor Spink

The life and times of the late Victor Spink
The life and times of the late Victor Spink

Victor Spink, a convicted drug importer who loved his property and the punt, has died age 76.

His body was found early Monday morning in a $79 a night hotel near Sydney’s Central Station, the death likely caused by a drug overdose.

A police spokeswoman told the SMH's Kate McClymont, who has diligently followed his life and times through the decades, that there were no suspicious circumstances.

The SMH's Title Deeds column similarly followed the Sydney-born, St Ives-based Victor Thomas Spink after authorities sought to seize 10 properties that he owned across NSW from Darling Point to Byron Bay, on the NSW north coast.

In 2008 Spink told the Herald the botched 1994 $225 million drug importation had cost him much of his prior fortune.

'I lost everything when they arrested me,' Spink said.

"Three of the properties in Byron and two at Potts Point were worth $16.5 million," he once suggested.

The life and times of the late Victor Spink

Born in 1942, Spink was first convicted of breaking and entering in 1960. He was jailed then deported from United Kingdom in the early 1970s.

He was next imprisoned in the late 1970s over a $54,000 mailbag robbery at Port Macquarie on the NSW mid-north coast.

By the 1970s the Woodward Royal Commission heard evidence linking him to the heroin trade.

In the 1990s, the Australian Federal Police were listening in on Spink’s phone calls as part of Operation Caribou, investigating cannabis importation from Pakistan.

The Herald revealed in 1995 that it had obtained AFP recordings of phone conversations suggesting Spink, then only known as Mr C, was part of a race-fixing network on Sydney tracks.

The jockey Jim Cassidy was disqualified for three years and Kevin Moses for one year, both penalised for pretending to fix races, rather than for actual fixing.

"All I ever did was ring jockeys and get their tips," Spink said, denying any rigging.

Known as one of the biggest punters on Sydney racetracks until his arrest, Spink reportedly lost $400,000 in one afternoon.

Spink belonged to a drug importing syndicate that unsuccessfully arranged for 15 tonnes of cannabis resin to be shipped from Pakistan to Australia in 1994, after one of the trawlers ran aground near Hervey Bay in southern Queensland. Another 10 tonnes were dumped at sea off New Caledonia.

Spink was one of the leading participants in the intended shipment along with Raymond John Dumbrell, a property developer from Maroubra, who contributed $65,000 to buy a boat.

In 1995 the SMH's Title Deeds reported Spink, who had by then pleaded guilty under Section 51A of the Justices Act to a charge of conspiracy to import cannabis resin, knocked back $917,500 when his two Potts Point backpacker terraces were auctioned to pay for his legal bills. Bought in 1993 for $760,000, the 10 bedroom terraces had a potential $6,300 weekly return, according to the listing agent John McGrath who had the terraces at $1.3 million. 

In 1996 Title Deeds reported Spink owned five Byron properties totalling a $1.046 million outlay. The properties had been bought in a five-month period, some sight unseen, in 1993.

On his release from jail he still owned three, as well as five houses in the Sydney suburbs of Alexandria, Gordon and Ku-ring-gai. 

After leaving jail in 2002, Spink then tried to access $US500,000 funds that had been sitting in his Swiss bank account since 1987.

Spink had to wait three years until his parole conditions enabled him to leave the country and head for Switzerland.

But authorities noted his passport in the name of George Saunders was expired as well as false.

Spink claimed the money in the Geneva account came from gambling, not drugs, and fought for access.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal granted him the money as it was deposited before his Australian drug conviction.

It was in the name of Saunders that Spink owned a Vaucluse mansion (top), bought in 1993 for $600,000 and sold in March last year for $4.9 million through Di Baker Prestige Properties.
 
Spink said he listed the home to make a sea change up to the north coast.

Di Baker was seeking more than $6 million for the two-storey home on dress circle Olola Avenue.

Last year the father of two wrote on Facebook about chronic health problems and the loss of his brother and sister from cancer, while alluding to struggles with addiction.

The Daily Mail suggested he died of an ice overdose in a room at the Great Southern Hotel.
 
A 30-year-old woman who was also in the room with him stayed to assist police with their inquiries. 

 

 

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