Courts

Wednesday 23 July 2014

FBI child porn accused 'gave €250,000 to his Romanian girlfriend'

Ruaidhri Giblin

Published 12/03/2014|02:30

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Eric Eoin Marques
Eric Eoin Marques

A MAN the FBI has called "the largest facilitator of child porn in the world" has revealed in his legal aid application that he gave €250,000 to his Romanian girlfriend, and spent the rest of his money on McDonalds, escorts and petrol.

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And the court was also told that Eric Eoin Marques' girlfriend used the cash to build a house in Romania on the land of "her other boyfriend".

Mr Marques, who is alleged to be the owner and administrator of an anonymous internet hosting site known as Freedom Hosting, is wanted by US authorities to face charges relating to conspiring to distribute and advertise child pornography.

The 28-year-old, with an address at Mountjoy Square in central Dublin, has been in custody since his arrest in August last year, after he was refused bail over concerns he represented a flight risk and that he may abscond or interfere with evidence in the case.

The charges against Mr Marques relate to images on over a hundred "anonymous websites" described as being extremely violent, graphic and depicting the rape and torture of pre-pubescent children.

In the High Court yesterday, lawyers for Mr Marques applied for legal aid in advance of a judicial review application of the DPP's decision not to prosecute him in Ireland.

Giving evidence, Mr Marques said his father had been paying legal fees on his behalf because his money had been frozen by the FBI.

The court heard evidence that Mr Marques set up a successful business in 2002 through which he earned what would amount to €1.15m from 2007 to 2012.

WITHDRAWALS

Counsel for Marques, Mark Lynam, asked his client to account for cash withdrawals of €307,000 drawn down from accounts held in his name between 2006 and 2013.

Marques told the court he gave €250,000 to his Romanian girlfriend and the remaining money was used for living expenses.

He said he transferred money to her and that she had access to his bank accounts from which she withdrew cash using ATM machines. When asked what happened to a BMW jeep he bought in February 2013 for €21,000, Marques said he changed ownership of the vehicle to his sister which she then sold to pay off legal debts to his father.

Under cross-examination from Ronan Kennedy, for the Attorney General, Mr Marques said he earned approximately €600,000 between 2007 and 2010 and after that he earned about €250,000 a year.

Mr Marques added that he went to McDonalds every day and spent a few hundred euro a week on escorts. He said he would sometimes carry about €500 in cash around on him.

Mr Justice John Edwards said he would rule on the legal aid application later today.

If convicted, Mr Marques could face the remainder of his natural life in prison as the four charges could result in a sentence totalling 100 years.

Irish Independent

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