“NOTH­ING TO FEAR”

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - In­ter­view by MICK CAR­ROLL Last King Of The X by John Ibrahim (Pan Macmil­lan Aus­tralia, $34.99) is in book­stores and on­line on July 25.

Un­der­world fig­ure John Ibrahim talks ex­clu­sively to Stel­lar about his colour­ful past ahead of the re­lease of his book.

He has long at­tracted in­famy as an un­der­world iden­tity. Now the elu­sive John Ibrahim, widely known as the king of Kings Cross, is about to tell his colour­ful story in his own words. Ahead of the re­lease of his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy later this month, he talks to Stel­lar about why he has bro­ken his si­lence, his pre­ferred din­ner com­pan­ions – and how his mum truly be­lieved that her son ran restau­rants for a liv­ing

For some­one who has not courted public­ity, even de­spises it, why did you de­cide to fi­nally write a book? I would rather tell my own story than have some­one with no idea and du­bi­ous sources do it. How did the process work? Did you write it your­self? And are you happy with the end re­sult? I started writ­ing in the notes sec­tion of my iphone from hospi­tal the night my brother Fadi was shot [Fadi Ibrahim sur­vived be­ing shot five times when he and his then girl­friend and now wife Shayda Bas­tani were am­bushed by a gun­man out­side his home in Syd­ney in June 2009], and I couldn’t stop. Yes, I did write it all my­self – any­one read­ing the end re­sult will be able to tell that. I’m happy it’s done, but there was al­ways the feel­ing more could’ve been put in and more could’ve been taken out. Your mum is clearly a strong in­flu­ence on your life and in the book you apol­o­gise for the at­ten­tion you have brought to your fam­ily. How did she re­spond to that? And do you re­ally think she be­lieved you ran restau­rants? Orig­i­nally the

Tun­nel was a res­tau­rant and cabaret venue, so when I was 18 and liv­ing with Mum at home she did be­lieve that. Did you show your fam­ily the book be­fore you pushed go with the pub­lisher? Of course. All but my brother Sam, who is in jail. It is an in­ter­est­ing ar­gu­ment that the trou­bles for your brother Sam re­ally started with one line of co­caine – do you wish you could turn back time know­ing what you know now? And what would you give up to be able to do that? It’s pretty clear in the book what I would and wouldn’t do. You say you hate the nick­name Te­flon John. Is that be­cause it im­plies you got away with things you shouldn’t have, when you didn’t do any­thing in the first place? I hate the name be­cause of the rea­sons in your ques­tion. It also paints a bulls­eye on my back for overzeal­ous polic­ing. There is an in­ter­est­ing pas­sage in your book when you say you don’t like the thought that or­di­nary pun­ters feel threat­ened by you. How do you deal with that? The or­di­nary punter has noth­ing to fear from me. Run­ning night­clubs is what I do for a liv­ing, so keep­ing the en­vi­ron­ment safe for them to spend money was my job. It’s called the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. If there was one per­son who you could kill and get away with it, who would it be? And what did they do? Not a ques­tion I will an­swer. If you had to in­vite three un­der­world fig­ures to din­ner – liv­ing or dead – who would they be and why? I would never go to din­ner with three un­der­world fig­ures, dead or alive. That’s work. I go to din­ner with friends. Is there any­one in par­tic­u­lar that you’re happy is in jail or dead? Not a ques­tion I will an­swer. What will you tell your daugh­ter about your life when she is old enough to un­der­stand? Leave my daugh­ter out of this. Which was your favourite night­club and why? The Tun­nel. It had my name on the door as li­censee for 28 years of his­tory. Why did you go to such lengths to pub­licly hide the clubs you were in­volved in, ex­cept the Tun­nel, but then in your book you just say straight out how many clubs you owned or part owned? I didn’t hide and if I did it was in plain sight. I just pre­ferred to give my­self a fair chance, es­pe­cially af­ter the bag­gage as­so­ci­ated with my name in the af­ter­math of the Royal Com­mis­sion into the New South Wales Po­lice Ser­vice.

“I’D NEVER GO TO DIN­NER WITH THREE UN­DER­WORLD FIG­URES”

CLUB KING (clock­wise from left) John Ibrahim in Kings Cross in 2009; step­ping out in 2014; Ibrahim’s life was the in­spi­ra­tion for the TV se­ries Un­der­belly: The

Golden Mile; the Tun­nel night­club; (op­po­site) a fake mug shot from the cover of his book.

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