Beleaguered Bronco’s bikie links exposed
Embattled Broncos star Tevita Pangai Jr is linked to several of Queensland's most notorious outlaw bikies and some crime figures on social media, and has even promoted a business owned by a former gang member.
The explosive revelations come as Pangai Jr today meets with the Broncos board to make a last-ditch bid to save his career and stop his $2.1 million contract being torn up.
His showdown with the Brisbane executive comes after a series of COVID-related breaches including attending the opening of a barber shop linked to the Mongols gang when it was raided by police on August 8.
The NRL confirmed late yesterday it was "aware of Tevita Pangai Jr's associations with members of Queensland outlaw motorcycle gangs", but a spokesman said there was "no active investigation".
The league enforcer vehemently denied knowing any bikies despite attending the bikie event at the barber shop which resulted in him being fined by the NRL and stood down indefinitely for breaching the code's strict biosecurity rules.
Pangai Jr claimed his presence at the barber shop was a misunderstanding and he was only there for a haircut.
It can be revealed the footballer follows several notorious outlaw gang figures on Instagram, despite many of their social media accounts being anonymised.
Among them are former Bandidos Centro chapter president-turned-Comanchero George Bejat, Grigori "Greg" Kossian who police say has since handed in his Bandido colours, and former Bandido thug Nelson Patea, who was recently released from prison after serving a sentence for manslaughter.
Nelson's bikie brother, Lionel, is in prison for two separate murders and is not eligible for release until 2048. Lionel ran his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child, Tara Brown, off the road in 2015 and beat her to death with a fire hydrant cover.
He also admitted to murdering Gold Coast father Greg Dufty, while Nelson admitted to his manslaughter, after he was killed over the theft of drugs.
Pangai Jr has 44,000 Instagram followers but follows just 400 accounts - many professional athletes and celebrities.
But among them are outlaw motorcycle gang members, their families and associates, and businesses they're linked to.
One account has a profile picture showing a group of men in bikie colours at what appears to be a wedding.
The Courier-Mail understands the board is leaning towards terminating Pangai Jr immediately, but chairman Karl Morris said he will be given a fair hearing.
"Tevita gets his opportunity to present his case to the board and we will make a considered decision once he does his presentation," he said.
Pangai Jr also follows an account for Black Canvas Southside, the barber shop in Windaroo in Logan's south whose store opening was attended by Pangai Jr and raided by detectives from Taskforce Maxima.
Alleged Mongol Harley Barbaro was among those at the opening, and was charged under anti-consorting laws.
Pangai Jr also posed for a photograph promoting newly opened Catch 22, a fish-and-chip shop at Stafford, in Brisbane's north, run by former bikie Kossian.
Pangai Jr follows both Catch 22 and Kossian on Instagram.
At a recent court hearing, in which Bejat was sentenced for an affray charge over his part in the violent gang bashing of a man outside a Fortitude Valley club, he claimed he earned his income from "an interest in" a fish-and-chip shop on Brisbane's northside, understood to be Catch 22.
Pangai Jr is featured on Catch 22's Instagram page smiling and holding up servings of Moreton Bay bugs and oysters inside the shop.
He replied to the post with "Moreton bay bugs" and several heart emojis.
Catch 22, which opened on June 14, has an Instagram account with 550 followers.
Pangai Jr and teammates Jake Turpin, Thomas Flegler, Kotoni Staggs and former teammate Jharal Yow Yeh are among the first 200 to have followed the restaurant's account.
There is no suggestion Pangai Jr or his current and former teammates have any involvement in illegal activities.
The store was also given the nod by local MP Dr Anthony Lynham, who posted about the eatery on June 17.
"Welcome to the community Catch 22. They're simply fish'licious," he wrote.
"I recently popped in and paid a visit to the chef, Dan and the owner, Greg.
"Who can say no to a fish and chips night? I certainly can't!"
There is no suggestion Dr Lynham is aware of Kossian's bikie past.
When The Courier-Mail went to the restaurant, Kossian was working behind the counter.
The ABN printed on the receipt comes up as "not a valid ABN" when searched, but is one digit different to Kossian's company Foodiesrus Pty Ltd.
Simon Tolhurst, the lawyer representing Pangai Jr when he faces the Broncos board, refused to comment.
"Sorry, I haven't got time to comment,'' Tolhurst said.
"I've got other things to sort out for tomorrow."
A Broncos spokesman said the club was "unaware of Tevita Pangai Jnr's links to outlaw motorcycle gang members' social media accounts" and had no further comment.
Originally published as Beleaguered Bronco's bikie links exposed