THE Criminal Assets Bureau has been called in to investigate the discovery of a six-figure haul of cash found hidden under a bath in the former home of bankrupt developer Tom McFeely.
A plumber involved in renovation work on the recently sold house in Ailesbury Road in south Dublin discovered €140,000 in €50 notes as he was checking under the bath yesterday.
He contacted NAMA, whose officials alerted the bureau
while local gardai were notified. Officers took possession of the cash and lodged it in an account in the Camden Street branch of AIB as a temporary measure.
Last night, an investigation led by CAB was under way with the aim of establishing the source of the money and confirming the circumstances in which it was found.
Officers initially examined the cash to determine that it was not counterfeit and then launched inquiries to find out who had hidden it in the bathroom.
The investigation will determine who is the legitimate owner of the money.
If it is owned by Mr McFeely , a former Provisional IRA hunger striker, it will be handed over to the official assignee, appointed by the High Court, to oversee the disposal of the assets of the bust developer.
If CAB is worried about the source of the cash, officers could go to the High Court to seek a freezing order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
After Mr McFeely was declared bankrupt, the property, Coolbawn, in one of Dublin's most exclusive neighbourhoods, was taken over by NAMA.
At one time it was valued at €15m, but was placed on the market by NAMA at €3m.
The house was subsequently bought by Hilary Hynes, the wife of public relations guru and former Sunday Times Irish editor Rory Godson, who has been based in London since 2000.
A builder had been asked by the new owner to carry out renovations on the house, and during work on the bathroom at lunchtime the money was discovered.
Mr Mc-Feely, who says his bank debts exceed €200m, has accused NAMA in the past of "showboating" his eviction from his home.
Less than a year ago, he told a High Court hearing that he had only €1,160 left in the bank and denied he had any hidden assets. He insisted that he had not received a €2.4m payment in relation to the Athena Court apartment complex in London and had not collected €148,000 in rent from the same development.
He also denied owning property in the North, Co Offaly, Antigua or Portugal.
Mr McFeely has been in the headlines because of the Priory Hall apartments debacle. His reputation as a builder was ruined when Priory Hall was declared a firetrap and residents were forced to evacuate.
Last month a Priory Hall resident, mother-of-two Stephanie Meehan, revealed that the stress of dealing with the problems arising from the complex had driven her partner, Fiachra Daly, to suicide.
She said the pressure eventually took its toll on him, and he took his life on July 15 at the age of 37.
By Tom Brady Security Editor and Conor Feehan