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Gardai twice saved the life of CAB target who lost appeal over home

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Dean Russell lost his appeal

Dean Russell lost his appeal

CollinsPhotoAgency

Dean Russell lost his appeal

A 50-year-old man who yesterday lost a High Court appeal against a decision that his family home was acquired with the proceeds of crime has been a major target for gangland rivals and gardai for decades.

Dean Russell's life was saved by armed gardai in May 2015, when major criminals Paul Zambra (43) and Anthony Callaghan (49) were busted on their way to kill him.

The duo were nailed in Coolock, following a three-day surveillance operation by specialist gardai.

It is believed the pair had been hired by a north inner city criminal gang to murder Dean Russell - the brother of Anthony Russell, who was shot dead in an Artane pub in 2008.

Russell's slain brother was a close associate of paedophile gang boss Christy Griffin and was heavily involved in the deadly north inner city feud.

Dean Russell denied that he was the target in a newspaper interview the day after heavily armed gardai arrested Zambra and Callaghan.

"If they wanted to kill me, there are easier ways to do it," Russell said.

"I'm adamant it was nothing to do with me, unless it's something I don't know about and I normally have a good idea."

Revolver

It was never stated in court who was the target of the gangsters but the duo pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Court to possession of a Ruger revolver and semi-automatic pistol with intent to endanger life.

The men were stopped by gardai who mounted a surveillance operation in the Coolock area and a search of the BMW driven by Zambra yielded two firearms and a full petrol can.

Dean's life was also saved by gardai in January 2009, when two suspects who later became involved in the Hutch/Kinahan feud were arrested lying in wait in a stolen car with a loaded revolver. It had been hidden under a seat as they waited for Russell to return to home.

Russell denied claims by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) that he had "a prolonged and deep history" with criminality.

He denied he was a "major criminal" and said he worked all his life, including at cleaning windows and a taxi business.

There was no supporting documentation for Russell's accountant's reports about his income as they were based on what he [Russell] told his accountant.

The High Court preferred the evidence of the CAB and declared his Clonshaugh family home to be the proceeds of crime, as well as an apartment in Santry and an apartment in Malaga, Spain.

Six years ago, a senior CAB officer told the High Court that Russell had 12 previous convictions, including relating to a post office heist in 1991.

He associated with known criminals and was involved in gangland feuds in Coolock and the north inner city, the CAB officer said.