Tuesday 6 December 2016

Fake kidnap victim Kevin McGeever denies he bought home with the proceeds of crime

Published 27/04/2016 | 17:31

CLAIMS: Kevin McGeever. Photo: David Conachy
CLAIMS: Kevin McGeever. Photo: David Conachy

A former property developer who faked his own kidnapping has denied he bought his Galway mansion with the proceeds of crime.

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"Define crime", he asked during a court hearing into whether he has the means to pay a €1.17m judgment debt registered against him last year by investor James Byrne over property in Dubai sold by Kevin McGeever's KMM Intel Properties.

He claimed the reported €4.5m he paid to buy and refurbish the mansion he named "Nirvana" in Craughwell, Co Galway, came from 30 years of working every day and not drinking or smoking.

Mr McGeever was under cross-examination in the Master's Court as part of efforts by Mr Byrne requiring the 71-year-old businessman to divulge his assets so that the debt could be recovered.

Mr McGeever, who at one point expressed a wish not to continue giving evidence and wanted to leave it to his legal representative "because I am out of my depth here", also said he wanted to sit down with Mr Byrne and the matter could be sorted out very simply.

He claimed he had a friend with business interests in Hong Kong and Singapore who would provide him with the money for the Byrne debt and the friend would later recover the money as part of any future business deals he and Mr McGeever had.  

"I don't need to be here (in court)", he said.

He refused to name the friend who he said, "has been taking care of me for a couple of years" because it would "cause his name to go round the world".

He complained earlier he had not provided details of a hospital where he was being treated for an illness, for which the court heard he had no medical certificate, because anywhere he went he found photographers taking pictures of him.

But Andrew Robinson BL, for Mr Byrne, said this was because he had become "a bit of a celebrity" in recent weeks following his conviction and two years suspended sentence for wasting garda time by concocting a story that he had been kidnapped by creditors who held him for eight months before he turned up on a roadside and was picked up by a passing motorist.

Counsel put it to him that he had promised last December to pay the debt by March but had not done so and his latest promise to settle the matter could not be believed.  He should provide something concrete to the court like the name of the friend, counsel said.

He complained earlier he had not been able to provide details of a hospital where he was being treated for an illness, for which the

court heard he had no medical certificate, because anywhere he went he found photographers taking pictures of him.

Earlier, asked about a Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) investigation into the source of funding for Nirvana, Mr McGeever asked "where has it gone, it has not gone anywhere.

"CAB has not lodged papers or charged me with anything".

He also asked that if there was a suggestion that it came from the proceeds of crime, "what do you mean by crime, what are you talking about, am I a drug dealer?"

When counsel said he was wanted by the FBI and Interpol, he said that was "going back 30 years".   He said the authorities here held all his identity documents, including his passport and effectively "I don't know who I am".

He said Nirvana, which he hoped to leave to his two daughters and their two children, was bought by a company called Universal Assets (UA) in 2005. 

When told UA had been dissolved, he said that may be the Irish company but not a British Virgin Islands-registered company of the same name.

When asked about a director of UA, Colm Sexton, who had been convicted and jailed for fraud, Mr McGeever asked who was Mr Sexton and the claim he was a director was "an absolute lie".

Asked about a €200,000 cheque which was paid to a since-deceased builder who did work for him in Ireland, Mr McGeever said it would be a waste of time for him to to sue the builder's estate to get that money.

Asked did he first buy the Craughwell mansion in his own name and then transfer it to UA, he said no and it was bought for him to have "a nice home in the West of Ireland.

"I named it Nirvana because it was to be a place of peace and tranquillity, not after the band.

"It was to be a place of peace and tranquillity but it did not turn out that way."

Mr McGeever also told the court he had sold to Irish investors 50 floors of commercial property in Dubai along with six or seven apartments but following the economic crash, the investors pulled outand they had to be sold "to Indians and Pakistanis at liquidation price".

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