Alessio Emmanuel "Alex" Vella (born 1954), or The Maltese Falcon, is a Maltese-Australian businessman, former boxer and National President of the Rebels Motorcycle Club. Despite having lived in Australia since the 1960s, he is not a citizen of the country. This caused visa problems when he tried to return to Australia after having gone to Japan with his son Adam (also a boxer) for a boxing match. Though the NSW Police tried to bar him from re-entering the country, he was eventually allowed to return.
Vella was born into a strict Catholic family in Malta and was one of eleven children. His parents lived in a cave with no electricity and a well for water. He began work at the age of eight, carrying buckets of water on a building site for 30 cents a day, and is functionally illiterate. He and his family then moved to Australia in the 1960s and established a strawberry farm near Horsley Park, New South Wales. In his 20s, he sometimes worked two or three jobs at a time; as a bouncer, labourer and bricklayer. He also joined the Rebels Motorcycle Club while pursuing a promising career as a boxer; he eventually became the Maltese light-heavyweight champion. After a serious road accident, he received $225,000 in compensation and used this money to set up a business importing and selling motorcycles. In 1990, police found a $15,000 stash of marijuana while searching his home, which they believed to be a methamphetamine factory. He received a fairly light sentence: 18-months of two-nights-a-week prison, and two-days-a-week community service. He has also been arrested, but not convicted, of a number of other crimes including stabbing two men and assaulting a woman. He was freed on appeal after being given six months in jail for the latter.
On May 28, 2008, Vella won a court case against the ANZ Bank. He sued them for $2.7 million after his former business partner, Tony Caradonna, re-mortgaged three properties, including the Rebels' club house, for $2.4 million by falsifying Vella's signature. He also claimed $300,000 was fraudulently withdrawn from their joint bank account.
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