Gunman held investor hostage for money ( admin posted on March 17th, 2019 )

A man who disguised himself as a police officer to gain entry into the home of a Sydney investor threatened to kidnap a family member if he did not leave with money, an inquest has heard.


Jean Govinden knocked on the door of Veronica Ghalloub’s West Ryde home on March 14 last year claiming to be a police officer investigating a child abduction.

His real identity became clear when Mrs Ghalloub’s husband, Anthony Ghalloub, returned home and recognised Mr Govinden as a relative’s fiance.

Mr Govinden held the couple at gunpoint before he shot himself in the head in the bathroom.

An inquest into his death is examining why Mr Govinden pulled the trigger and why he fronted the Ghalloub household.

The inquest heard on Monday Mr Ghalloub’s investment company had attracted a number of investors including members of Mrs Ghalloub’s family.

In the months following Mr Govinden’s death, Mr Ghalloub told an investor meeting that the investment project had failed and the money would not be returned.

Mrs Ghalloub’s sister, Claudia Shashati, invested $60,000 in her brother-in-law’s investment in the late 1990’s.

She received quarterly payments of about $3000 and assumed she received all of her capital back but admitted other family members were growing “agitated” with the lack of returns.

Ms Shashati said the gunman said he would take a family member, who cannot be identified, if he did not receive any money.

Recalling conversations she had with Mrs Ghalloub after the hostage saga, Ms Shashati said the gunman obviously thought he could rob the family.

“He heard about them through other people and he was trying to get money,” she told the inquest.

“He was desperate for money.”

Mrs Ghalloub had received death threats, Ms Shashati said.

“Obviously people were upset they were not getting their returns … but I never thought it would get to that,” she said.

A relative of Mr Govinden, who cannot be identified, told the inquest he gave Mr Govinden $30,000 to invest in a brothel in 2012.

But Mr Govinden admitted to his relative in the days before his death that the money was for his wedding.

The relative said Mr Govinden had mentioned Mr Ghalloub had worked in investment and was making good money for a lot of people.

The inquest heard Mr Ghalloub’s father’s car was fire bombed in December 2012 and his brother-in-law received threatening texts.

The inquest before Deputy State Coroner Paul MacMahon continues.

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 and MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

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