‘Chester not a communal leader’

Jaron Chester.

JEWISH communal leaders have distanced themselves from 34-year-old Jaron Chester, (pictured) who has been charged with allegedly laundering money for an international drug and tobacco syndicate.

Chester, from Sydney, who was charged with “deal with proceeds of crime, money/property equal to or greater than $100,000” and “intend as instrument of crime, money/property equal to or greater than $1,000,000”, has described himself as president of the Australian Jewish Communal Lobby (AJCL) and as a result several media outlets have reported in the last week that he is a Jewish communal leader.

However, as The AJN reported in 2015, the Australian Jewish Communal Lobby was simply a Facebook group set up by Chester and was never endorsed or supported by large sections of the community.

“Jaron Chester has never held a position in the leadership of the NSW Jewish community,” NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s Peter Wertheim said that media who claim Chester was a leader are “factually incorrect”.

“Mr Chester has described himself as president of the Australian Jewish Communal Lobby, but that does not make him a Jewish leader,” Wertheim said.

“We wish to make clear that this group is in no way affiliated with the Executive Council of Australian Jewry or any other Jewish communal organisation and does not represent the Australian Jewish community.

“We understand that the group consists of an individual or individuals operating an open Facebook page, which has been known by different names since its inception.”

The Facebook page of the Australian Jewish Communal Lobby was removed following Chester’s arrest.

Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, former president of the Rabbinical Council of NSW provided a character reference for Chester in court last week in support of his bail application.

“He is a very sweet boy, I gave a reference, he is very well-known in the community,” Rabbi Ulman said.

Chester was denied bail. His case will come before the court again on November 1.

JOSHUA LEVI