herald

Wednesday 11 December 2019

CAB seize lavish home of gangster and moll as pals quizzed over money laundering

A garda and a member of the CAB outside a house in Rowlagh Park, Clondalkin, which they repossessed from Ms Byrne and her partner. Photo: Frank McGrath
A garda and a member of the CAB outside a house in Rowlagh Park, Clondalkin, which they repossessed from Ms Byrne and her partner. Photo: Frank McGrath

An associate of a man whose home was seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) yesterday was arrested along with his partner for money laundering offences.

The arrest of the 33-year-old man and his partner happened just hours before the CAB took possession of a house in Rowlagh Park, Clondalkin, which has been seized as part of the same investigation into the west Dublin organised crime gang.

The 33-year-old and his girlfriend, who is also in her 30s, were held for a number of hours at Clondalkin Garda Station, where they were questioned in relation to money laundering offences before being released without charge yesterday afternoon.

A file will now be prepared for the DPP by the CAB, and last night a source told the Herald that the arrests were part of the same investigation which led to 14 searches last September, which included six houses, a garage and a hairdressers.

Seized

"The targeted gang are a standalone entity and they are heavily involved in drug supply in the capital, as well as in Wicklow and Kilkenny," a source said last night.

While the couple were being quizzed over money laundering, the CAB seized the home of another couple who have close links to the arrested duo.

Relatives of Elaine Byrne and her partner handed over the keys of their home to the law enforcement agency following a High Court order issued in December.

The CAB alleged that the man is active in the sale and supply of drugs, has a number of previous convictions for drugs offences and associates with known criminals in south and west Dublin.

A small number of gardai and bureau officials arrived at the empty property at 9.45am yesterday in unmarked cars and carried out an inspection of its interior.

Thirty minutes later, hired contractors began to secure the house and board up its windows.

It is understood that the couple left the property in "immaculate condition" before peacefully leaving a number of months ago.

The bureau claims they had an affluent lifestyle and spent lavishly despite the fact there is no credible explanation for the source of their funds.

Money spent by them does not correlate with their known income, the CAB also claims.

An order was sought deeming the house - purchased for €317,000 in 2007 - as acquired with the proceeds of crime.

The CAB claims the man submitted false information to obtain a mortgage for it.

He described himself as a car firm salesperson earning some €75,000 a year, but the CAB said he did not work for that company.

It is hoped that South Dublin County Council will purchase the house and offer it to a local family.

A source told the Herald that the new occupants will be notified of its previous owners as "a duty of care".

The CAB claims the house is worth €220,000 but that €284,500 remains owed on it and that mortgage payments made on the property came from the proceeds of the man's criminal conduct.

CAB officers claimed that extensive works have been done to the house, which has been finished to a high standard.

The renovations include the installation of CCTV to the front and rear of the property.

The court heard that CAB officers seized a number of items from the house in May 2017, including €20,000 in cash and a bulletproof vest.

Rolex, Breitling and Hublot watches and a Chanel handbag estimated to be worth more than €70,000 were also discovered and seized by gardai.

The court heard the couple had travelled extensively in recent years.

The CAB claims that since 2010 they have spent around €20,000 on flights alone, to the UK, various European destinations and several trips to the United States, where they went on a cruise, as well as to Mexico and Dubai.

It is claimed that in 2016 and 2017, Ms Byrne purchased thousands of euro worth of designer goods and had a platinum Brown Thomas loyalty card despite insisting her only source of income was provided by her lone parent's allowance.

The court heard the couple had also consented to orders in relation to other items seized from them - which the CAB says are the proceeds of crime - included BMW and Citroen cars purchased in 2016 in exchange for cash and a trade-in.

Meanwhile, in last September's 14 searches which targeted the same gang, the CAB seized four top-of-the range cars, a designer watch and plush handbags.

A freezing order was also made on €145,000 in accounts in financial institutions.

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