THE owner of Canberra’s biggest gay nightclub, Cube, has been charged by NSW Police with conspiring with an alleged Kings Cross-based drug syndicate to sell cocaine in the ACT.Maurizio Rao was charged by Kings Cross drug squad detectives who met him and his lawyer at Queanbeyan police station on Tuesday.After being interviewed, the 34-year-old owner of the popular nightclub in Civic was charged with conspiring to supply an indictable quantity of cocaine.He was released on police bail to answer the charge in Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on July 5.It is the second time Mr Rao has faced a major police investigation.In 2006 he was charged with murdering David Nato Seula, 23.Mr Seula died on August 4 of that year, three weeks after he was stabbed in a brawl with four of his friends, a Cube nightclub bouncer, Adam Street, and Mr Rao.In 2008, Mr Rao was found not guilty of murder and inflicting grievous bodily harm when Supreme Court Justice Malcolm Gray found he acted in self-defence after being attacked by Mr Seuala and his friends, who had been refused entry to the club because of their heavily intoxicated state.Witnesses said the five men had made threats against other patrons, vowing to “bash poofs” if they were not admitted to the club.Although Justice Gray rejected evidence that Mr Rao did not strike the fatal blow, he did accept that he had acted in self-defence.Last December Cube nightclub was the focus of local police criticism after they alleged an advertisement on its website was “highly inappropriate”.The ad showed a mirrored image of a woman’s open mouth with her teeth holding what appeared to be a tablet with a heart embossed on it.But the club owner rejected the criticism, saying the woman in the image was merely holding candy in her mouth.
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