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Senior Rebels bikie dies while president Alex Vella is locked out of country

Date

Nick Ralston

Senior Rebels bikie Simon Rasic has died.

Senior Rebels bikie Simon Rasic has died.

The long serving serjeant-at-arms of the Rebels bikie gang has died while their president has been locked out of the country, creating a leadership vacuum at the top of Australia's largest outlaw motorcycle club.

Simon Rasic died on Sunday night from a suspected heart attack. He had held the senior ranking position within the Rebels for about a decade.

News of his death came as it was revealed that the Rebels national boss, Alex Vella, had his visa cancelled by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison last Friday on the grounds he was of bad character.

Mr Vella, who has told Fairfax Media he is being unfairly targeted by police, is likely to challenge the Commonwealth's decision but even if successful it leaves the 2000 strong bikie club, which boasts 70 chapters nationwide, without two of its most senior office holders for some time.

He is also unlikely to return to Australia in time for Mr Rasic's funeral.

Mr Morrison on Tuesday said the bikie boss said the government would use intel from police and the Australian Crime Commission in any court challenge.

"This government is not going to shirk its responsibility when it comes to making the decisions about these very serious character matters," Mr Morrision said.

Speaking from Europe, Mr Vella said he was enjoying a holiday with his son, Alex Jnr, when he discovered the government had cancelled his visa under "the character provisions of the Migration Act.”

"I am an innocent man," Mr Vella told Fairfax Media.

"I've just finished settling a tax case after nine months for $1.2 million. I've travelled overseas to visit family and friends and whilst I've left the country with a valid visa they have shut and locked the door behind me."

A citizen of Malta, and dubbed the Maltese Falcon, Mr Vella has lived in Australia for more than four decades but has never applied for citizenship.

His wife and two sons are Australian citizens.

This is not the first time steps have been taken to stop the Rebels boss from re-entering Australia.

He encountered problems in 2007 after flying to Tokyo to watch his middleweight boxer son, Adam Vella.

While in Japan NSW police reportedly prepared a case for the Immigration Department to refuse the multi-millionaire a new visa to return to Australia. He was eventually allowed return.

"What is the reason? What have I done to deserve what they have been doing to me for so many years?" Mr Vella said on Monday night.

"Everyone has a hobby in life and mine is riding motorcycles.

"We are not a criminal organisation despite what the police continue to say about us. We are simply easy targets."

Police disagree, and in 2012 established a national taskforce to target the Rebels, its 70 chapters and more than 2000 members Australia-wide.

Mr Vella was due in court last month as police sought to shut down the Rebels clubhouse on his property at Leppington in Sydney's south-west.

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