Fugitive bikie boss Mark Buddle claims he paid bribes to officials in Northern Cyprus to remain there but was still arrested in a dramatic raid.
The Comanchero commander was residing on the Mediterranean island on a tourist visa since July 7, 2021, and claims through his defence lawyer that local politicians were squeezing him for money.
The underworld kingpin has been a fugitive since he fled Australia in 2016, wanted by police in connection to inquiries into a number of murders and drug importation cases.
Mark Buddle was expelled from Northern Cyprus last weekend and taken to a jail in Turkey where he might soon be deported to Australia or a third country. He left Australia in 2016 and has spent time in Dubai, Iraq and Lebanon.
His attorney alleges middlemen were demanding money on behalf of politicians to allow him to remain free on the island, report the Daily Telegraph.
He added his client was paying the bribes because he wanted to remain close to his new wife Ozge – a Northern Cypriot woman who he recently married in a quiet ceremony despite his long-term relationship with Mel Ter Wisscha.
After his arrest on July 9, he was transported the next day to the Turkish capital of Ankara where he is detained.
Turkey is the only country that recognises the area’s independence from Cyprus, officially calling it the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
But before he left he is understood to have spoken to a journalist from a local Northern Cypriot paper and revealed details of the raid.
His arrest raid involved Interpol officials, local cops, and vessels from the Turkish coast guard monitoring for anyway getaway boats.