herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Kidnap spoofer now says pal will lend him €1.17m to pay off debt

Kevin McGeever. Photo: Collins
Kevin McGeever. Photo: Collins

A former property developer who faked his own kidnapping has denied he bought his Galway mansion with the proceeds of crime.

"Define crime?" Kevin McGeever said during a court hearing into whether he has the means to pay a €1.17m judgment debt registered against him last year by investor James Byrne over property in Dubai sold by Mr McGeever's KMM Intel Properties.

He claimed the reported €4.5m he paid to buy and refurbish the mansion he named Nirvana, in Craughwell, Co Galway, came from 30 years of working every day and not drinking or smoking.

McGeever was under cross-examination in the Master's Court as part of efforts by Mr Byrne requiring the 71-year-old businessman to divulge assets so the debt could be recovered.

McGeever at one point said he wanted to stop giving evidence and wanted to leave it to his legal representative "because I am out of my depth here". He also said he wanted to sit down with Mr Byrne and the matter could be sorted out very simply.

He claimed he had a friend with business interests in Hong Kong and Singapore who would provide him with the money for the Byrne debt and the friend would later recover the money as part of any future business deals he and Mr McGeever had.

Illness

He refused to name the friend, who he said, "has been taking care of me for a couple of years" because it would "cause his name to go round the world".

Mr McGeever also said that he had not provided details of a hospital where he was being treated for an illness - for which the court heard he had no medical certificate - because photographers were taking pictures of him where ever he went.

But Andrew Robinson BL, for Mr Byrne, said this was because he had become "a bit of a celebrity" in recent weeks following his conviction and a two-year suspended sentence for wasting garda time.

McGeever was sentenced for concocting a story that he had been kidnapped by people he owed money to who held him for eight months before turning him loose.

Counsel put it to him that he had promised last December to pay the debt by March, but had not done so and his latest promise to settle the matter could not be believed.

Earlier, asked about a Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) investigation into the source of funding for Nirvana, Mr McGeever said "where has it gone? It has not gone anywhere.

"CAB has not lodged papers or charged me with anything".

Crime

He also asked if there was a suggestion that it came from the proceeds of crime. "What do you mean by crime? What are you talking about? Am I a drug dealer?" he asked.

When counsel said he was wanted by the FBI and Interpol, Mr McGeever said that was "going back 30 years".

He said Nirvana was bought by a company called Universal Assets (UA) in 2005. Asked did he first buy the mansion in his own name and then transfer it to UA, he said no and it was bought for him to have "a nice home in the West of Ireland".

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