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Saturday 21 October 2017

Accused seeks to go on holidays in €1.9m 'fraudulent forestry investment scheme' case

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Stock picture

Tom Tuite

A COMPANY director accused of having €1.9m in crime proceeds in connection with a forestry investment business has been further charged with fraudulent trading.

Gardai intend to object to his request be let go on holidays, a court was told yesterday/today (THUR).

Businessman Garret Hevey, 41, of Brookdene, Shankill, Co. Dublin had been charged earlier with deception by inducing a named man to pay him £52,000stg at Allied Irish Bank (AIB), Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin on Feb. 23 last year.

His second charge stated it is alleged that on June 13 last year at AIB on George's Street, in Dun Laoghaire he was in possession of €1,982,825 in crime proceeds.

Yesterday/today (THUR) he appeared before Judge Timothy Lucey at Dublin District Court and three additional charges were put to him in connection with the same investigation.

One is under the Companies Act for fraudulent trading and there were two additional charges for deception by inducing people to pay him approximately £23,000.

Inspector Catharina Gunne of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said he replied “no comment” when the new charges were put to him.

Judge Lucey heard the case involved 2,000 exhibits and the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that Mr Hevey is to face trial on indictment, meaning the trial will be in the circuit court. The judge agreed to extend time for the State to complete the book of evidence and ordered Mr Hevey to appear again at the district court on June 15 next.

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Defence solicitor Richard Young said there was consent to the adjournment. He informed the court his client wishes to go on a holiday which was booked before he was charged and he is seeking the return of his passport which he had to surrender to gardai.

Inspector Gunne said she would be objecting to his request and Judge Lucey held that this issue would be dealt with at the next hearing.

In February, Hevey’s bail was set in his own bond of €5,000 of which half had to be lodged in court with a €20,000 independent surety of which €10,000 had to be lodged.

Inspector Gunne had told the court the defendant was a director and shareholder in Arden Forestry Management Ltd. It was alleged the company investors based outside the State transferred sums to the AIB account and it appeared as if they were investing in a legitimate forestry business with legitimate folios, sites and timber certificates.

The court has heard that married father-of-one Mr Hevey has lived at his home for the past nine years and there is a mortgage on his property.

As a condition of bail he had to hand over his passport to gardai, reside at his home address, not apply for a new passport, be contactable always via mobile phone, have no contact with alleged injured parties and sign on three times a week at his local Garda station.

A co-accused, UK national David Piele, 40, a father-of-two with an address at Rectory Way, Bray, Co. Wicklow is also before the courts but has faced separate hearings.

He is solely charged with deception offences and will face his next hearing in June. They have not yet indicated how they will plead.

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