CAB secures freezing orders on properties belonging to Dublin man after court finds assets were proceeds of crime
THE Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) has secured freezing orders over three properties belonging to a Dublin man it says has "a prolonged and deep history" with criminality.
Yesterday at the High Court, Mr Justice George Birmingham said he was satisfied to grant CAB orders in relation to properties belonging to Dean Russell (44) after finding the assets were the proceeds of crime.
The properties are Russells' four bedroom home at Riverside Park, Clonshaugh, Dublin, an apartment at Lymewood Mews, Northwood, Santry, Dublin, as well as an apartment in southern Spain.
The court also appointed CAB's legal officer Declan O'Reilly as receiver over the apartment in Santry.
An application to appoint Mr O'Reilly as receiver to the other properties will be made later this year, after certain investigations have been conducted.
Mr Russell was not present in court yesterday and was not legally represented during the hearing.
In affidavits, Mr Russell had opposed the CAB application and denied the properties were acquired with the proceeds of crime.
He claimed they were acquired as a result of him working in various enterprises including cleaning windows, selling furniture, a taxi business, and from car sales.
In his ruling, the judge said Mr Russell had access to "very significant amounts of funds" which were "quite in excess of any funds generated by legitimate activities he was involved in."
The Judge said the house in Clonshaugh was acquired in 1995 for IR£53,000. The apartments in Spain and Santry were acquired approximately a decade later for €400,000 in total. Mortgages were obtained on all the properties.
Mr Russell and another party had also acquired a property in Co Louth for approximately €400,000.
The Judge said there was no proper explanation where the monies used to obtain these purchases had come from. The evidence tendered on Mr Russell's behalf where the monies had come from the judge said "impossible to accept."
The Judge said that reports from Mr Russell's accountants could not be backed up with any hard evidence, bar one note seized by gardai. The accountant's reports, he said, were based on what they had been told by Mr Russell himself, the judge added.
There were also allegations that Mr Russell had engaged in an extravagant lifestyle. This included the purchase of a BMW SUV in 2006 for €50,000 and many overseas trips to Spain, Italy the UK, the US and Canada for shopping trips.
There was no explanation where the proceeds to pay more than €70,000 on a credit card had come from, he added.
The judge, noting evidence from CAB Chief Detective Chief Superintendent Eugene Corcoran, said Mr Russell had a deep and prolonged history with criminal activity and had associated with known criminals.
He had 12 previous convictions, the most of which was in 1991 in connection with a post office robbery. He was also involved in two gangland feuds, one in the inner city and one in Coolock area the Judge said.
Mr Russell had given up the taxi business because his life was in danger, the Judge said. In 1997 he was questioned, but not charged in connection with the hijacking of a van containing €1.2m of computer parts.
He was also stopped in Holyhead Port, en route to Ireland, by the UK authorities carrying Stg13,000 in cash. By the time he reached Dun Laoghaire, he was no longer carrying that cash, the Judge said.
The Judge said that any arguments made by Mr Russell were diminished by his failure to attend court so he could be cross examined about the assets.