€17k found in flat of Kinahan 'childhood pal' seized by CAB
The High Court has ruled that €17,000 found in the apartment of a man described as a childhood friend of a Kinahan gang member is the proceeds of crime.
The cash was seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) in Jeremy Skerritt's apartment following a search of the property in April 2016.
The CAB described Mr Skerritt as a low to mid-ranking member of the Kinahan gang and a childhood friend of one of the mob's leading members, Daniel Kinahan.
Ms Justice Carmel Stewart ruled that the cash was the proceeds of crime and appointed a receiver over the money.
Mr Skerritt (42) did not contest the CAB's application under Section 3 of the 1996 Proceeds of Crime Act and he was not in court for the hearing.
He did not claim ownership of the money nor give any explanation where the cash had come from, the CAB said.
The bureau argued that the money came from the sale and supply of controlled drugs and Mr Skerritt had no legitimate source of income other than social welfare payments.
The court heard that the cash was discovered following a search of Mr Skerritt's apartment on North Circular Road, Dublin, on April 7, 2016.
The search was conducted as part of Operation Thistle which the CAB said was a garda operation against members of the Kinahan organised crime gang.
Gardai found the cash wrapped in tinfoil under a mattress in the centre of the living area in the apartment.
The CAB said the money was packaged in three neatly wrapped bundles of €5,000 and one of €2,000.
The method used to package and conceal the cash was consistent with drug dealing and money laundering, the CAB said.
The court heard that Mr Skerritt had 22 previous convictions for offences including drugs and assault.
He was jailed for 15 months in 2001 for his part in the assault of an off-duty garda and for drugs offences.
The court also heard that gardai found a set of keys for an apartment in Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, following a search of Mr Skerritt's girlfriend's home in Oliver Bond House, Dublin, on April 7, 2016.
When gardai searched the Lower Baggot Street apartment, they discovered a Dutch Moroccan man, Naoufal Fassi, who was extradited and jailed for 18 years in the Netherlands for his role in organised crime and attempted murder.
A quantity of cannabis, a false Belgian ID card, cash, mobile phones, high-end watches and documents linking the address to the Kinahan crime gang were also discovered in the apartment.
The court also heard that Daniel Kinahan was a named party on Mr Skerritt's motorbike insurance policy.
The policy came into effect days after David Byrne, who was also a member of the Kinahan crime gang, was shot dead in the Regency Hotel attack in 2016.