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'Viper' runs out of road in bid to avoid paying €740k in tax

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Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley took his case to the highest court in the land

Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley took his case to the highest court in the land

Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley took his case to the highest court in the land

Veteran Dublin criminal Martin 'The Viper' Foley has reached the end of the road in his quest to avoid paying a €740,000 tax bill after losing a Supreme Court appeal against the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

'The Viper' had previously tried to have the matter relating to a 1990s income tax bill quashed by the Court of Appeal, which ruled against him last November.

Foley then lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, who came back in favour of the CAB last Friday.

In his initial defence against the tax bill, Foley claimed he had been "taken by surprise", and had been left in "an almost impossible situation", saying the CAB had failed to explain why it took 11 years to bring the judgment application.

Notorious

Foley (66) is one of Ireland's most notorious criminals, has survived four attacks on his life and suffered around 14 bullet wounds.

He later set up a debt recovery business called Viper Debt Recovery And Repossession Services Limited, offering his services in collecting debts for clients.

He will now have to pay a CAB tax and interest bill, which has ballooned to more than €738,000 for the years 1993/94 and 1999/2000.

'The Viper' was hit with a tax bill of €218,000 for the years 1993/94 and 1999/2000.

Foley made payments totalling €40,000, reducing the bill to €178,000. In February 2002, he brought an appeal against the assessment, which was rejected.

However, the bill ballooned because of interest and penalties on the unpaid sum over more than 11 years.

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Fellow veteran criminal John Gilligan

Fellow veteran criminal John Gilligan

The Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have ruled he had "no case" and dismissed his appeals.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court judges said it was the court's opinion that the appeal proposed by Foley was "clearly not sustainable".

It said Foley could not argue there was a delay in proceedings. It said the proceedings were issued on March 8, 2013, and the motion for judgment followed on September 26 the same year.

"Hence, there was no delay which could be relied upon to invoke the court's jurisdiction," the ruling said.

Leave to appeal the ruling of the Supreme Court was refused, meaning Foley has reached the end of the road and has nowhere left to go to argue his case.

Another veteran criminal, John Gilligan, previously attempted to avoid losing assets by appealing court decisions made against him to the Supreme Court.

In battles that took 20 years Gilligan tried to delay and frustrate the CAB in its efforts to seize his properties before he eventually ran out of legal road in 2017.

The CAB fought for more than two decades to strip the crime boss of his properties on the basis that they were bought with the proceeds of crime.

The decision of the Supreme Court allowed the CAB to seize a bungalow beside the previously seized Jessbrook Equestrian Centre, a former family home in Corduff Avenue in Blanchardstown, Dublin, and another house in Willsbrook View in Lucan, Dublin.

The CAB commented at the time that Gilligan's failure to stop it seizing his assets, despite him exhausting every legal avenue available, should send a message to people who earn money through crime that the CAB wins in the end.