The criminal barrister known as 'Lawyer X', who brought down dozens of Australia's most notorious gangsters as a secret police informant, can finally be named as high-flying lawyer Nicola Gobbo.
The niece of former Governor of Victoria Sir James Gobbo, the blonde-haired lawyer has admitted to destroying criminal organisations from the inside after becoming fed up with police's inability to catch crooks.
The decision of Gobbo, also known as Informer 3838, to turn rogue saw some of Victoria's biggest villains wind up in jail and has brought on a royal commission into how police deal with informers.
Revealed: Criminal lawyer Nicola Gobbo has gone into hiding after being outed as the notorious Informer 3838 who allegedly snitched on her clients to police
Carlton Crew boss Mick Gatto (left) was once a client of lawyer Nicola Gobbo (right). Gatto shot dead Carl Williams' hitman Andrew 'Benji' Veniamin in self defence at the height of the gangland war
Gobbo's snitching could also see dozens of bikies and mobsters released from prison.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the royal commission after a damning High Court judgement found the police force's conduct in using Gobbo for information was reprehensible, as well as describing her behaviour as appalling.
Her name can finally be revealed after the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal last week rejected a Victoria Police bid to keep it and her image a secret.
The lawyer, who acted for gangsters including dead crime boss Carl Williams and drug lord Tony Mokbel, said she began working for police in mid-2003 when she met about six times with a Detective Sergeant of the Purana Taskforce, which was investigating Melbourne gangland crime.
1. Karam, Higgs, Barbaro and 33 co-accused for the largest ever seizure of ecstasy in the world
2. Horty Mokbel, Milad Mokbel and their co-accused and associates such as Stephen Gavanas
4. David Ilic
5. Joe Mannella (and Karam) for the multiple seizures of hundreds of kilos of cocaine and other drugs that were not the subject of charges, but were intercepted and seized by Australian Customs
7. [*Redacted] (as a result of information provided by me, Purana were able to get him to a position where he was confronted with a mountain of evidence which led to him becoming a witness for police)
8. Faruk Orman (for the murder of Victor Pierce)
9. Mick Gatto and the Carlton crew (regrettably this was a work in progress when I was handed over to Petra as a witness)
She went onto work undercover for police until 2009.
It was later revealed police actually registered Gobbo as an informer while she was still a law student at the University of Melbourne in 1995.
It is unknown if her recruitment was connected to drug charges she faced as a university student two years earlier.
Gobbo continues to deny she has done anything wrong.
'I maintain ... that anything told to me or said in my presence about crimes being planned or committed cannot ever fall under the protection of legal professional privilege by a client,' she told police in 2015.
'Most significantly, I did not approach the police because I had committed (nor have I since) any crime for which I required some kind of "get out of jail free card", as is most often the reason people choose to assist police.'
Last December, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said police were concerned with the protection of Gobbo and her family, whom police feared would be murdered if word got out she was an informer.
'Nothing is more important to Victoria Police than the protection of human life - that is and always will be the absolute number one priority. And so I make no apologies for taking the legal actions that Victoria Police has taken in this matter,' he said at the time.
Carl Williams was right when he wrote from jail that his lawyer had turned rogue. He was murdered in jail the day information was splashed across a newspaper calling him a snitch
He said police still feared the lawyer could be a target if exposed.
But Gobbo has never truly been very much concerned for her safety.
Up until two weeks ago she was still posting photos of her children on Instagram and happily mingled among the cafe dwellers just a short ride from where she used to practice law in Melbourne's CBD.
Sources suggest Gobbo only recently made the decision to skip town upon learning of the looming date where her identity could no longer be protected.
Even then she managed to push out the inevitable by convincing authorities she needed to make one last visit to her mother's grave before packing up her two children and getting out of town.
The outing of Gobbo as Informer 3838 comes as a surprise to absolutely no-one within the legal community, media or government.
Her name has been associated with snitching on clients ever since she admitted to wearing a wire in an effort to snare former cop Paul Dale.
Nicola Gobbo was asked to wear a wire to get incriminating evidence against former drug squad detective Paul Dale. She was also asked to give evidence against him which exposed she was a rogue lawyer
Nicola Gobbo was frequently seen enjoying a coffee while supposedly living in fear of being revealed as a rogue lawyer who had turned on the crooks she represented
1995: Gobbo is arrested over drug offences and is registered with police an an informer
2003: Gobbo meets