A small town driving instructor allegedly falsified more than 250 motorbike licences, many of which were for gang members throughout New Zealand.
Petre Jozef Kalinowski, 66, appeared in the Westport District Court on Thursday facing 24 representative charges of dishonestly creating false competency-based training assessment score sheets and certificates over three years.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Mathew Wood told Stuff Kalinowski allegedly falsified more than 250 motorbike licences.
Kalinowski allegedly received more than $50,000 as a result of his offending, Wood said.
Judge Noel Walsh remanded Kalinowski on bail until his next court appearance in December.
Over three years, Kalinowski allegedly falsified motorbike licences for members of several gangs – including the Hells Angels, King Cobras and Mongrel Mob – based in various parts of the country.
The Companies Office lists him as the director of Roadcraft NZ Limited, a driving school based in Westport on the West Coast, where he lives.
He earlier told Stuff he had “lost everything”.
The investigation into Kalinowski, dubbed Operation Ketch, recently led to the arrest of the leader of the Christchurch chapter of the King Cobras gang, Kent Seiji Natsuhara.
Court documents allege that between February 18 and 22, Natsuhara, a 29-year-old manager, dishonestly obtained a restricted level competency-based training assessment certificate. The assessment is an alternative to completing the practical test at the restricted and full stages of getting a motorcycle licence.
Natsuhara allegedly used the document on February 22.
He appeared in court on September 29 and was remanded on bail to next appear in the Christchurch District Court on October 20.
In recent years authorities have expressed concern about the growing risk of organised criminals influencing officials. The concerns have been exacerbated by the arrival of deportees and international bikie gangs like the Mongols MC and Comancheros.
A Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency spokeswoman said she was unable to provide any information about the case as it was before the courts.
“Waka Kotahi will continue to work closely with NZ Police in the interest of road safety.”