The multi-million dollar packaging and recycling company Visy Industries, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, has allegedly contracted members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club to collect debts, according to an investigation conducted by the Herald Sun.
Sources within police departments reportedly told the paper that they have "recorded links" between Visy and the biker gang, and packaging industry insiders claimed that other biker gangs and criminal rings have been offering debt collection and "problem solving" services since the Victorian government scrapped a policy last year requiring all debt collectors to be licensed.
According to the paper's sources, the packaging company pays the biker gang a retainer to have gang members on call for debt-collection runs. A relationship between the two groups allegedly started several years ago after Visy sold a large number of boxes to criminals connected with the fruit and vegetable industry who subsequently refused to pay for them.
"So Visy kind of had to find someone of equal status to the market heavies to collect what was owed by the sort of people who just ignore requests from traditional debt collectors," a former senior employee at Visy reportedly told the paper.
According to 3AW News Fairfax, Visy has faced allegations of working with Hells Angels members for years, thanks in part to the company's former owner Richard Pratt.
In 2007, the billionaire was fined $36 million after it was revealed that he had entered Visy into a four-year price-fixing scheme with packaging rival Amcor, which reportedly cost Australians $700 million. Then in 2009, Pratt was linked to Hells Angels after police discovered drugs inside trucks that Visy had contracted from a Hells Angels-owned company.
A source who spoke with the Herald Sun said that bikers are increasingly being used for debt collection services. In 2011, a senior Hell Angels gang member in New Zealand and three other accomplices were charged with unlawful collecting after uncover cops caught them illegally repossessing cars and trucks, in addition to killing a number of deer on government land.
Head over to the Herald Sun for their full report on the Hells Angels-Visy investigation.