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Monday 22 September 2014

Man accused of possessing €45,550 in laundered money told gardaí he saved it up from his wages

Deividas Petrauskas (31) denies possessing the cash as the proceeds of crime, and co-accused Audronis Bieliauskas pleaded not-guilty to the same charge

Published 02/07/2014 | 18:38

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The money was seized as the man was about to board a flight from Dublin to the Netherlands

A Lithuanian man accused of possessing €45,550 in laundered money told gardaí he saved it up from his wages as a driver.

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Deividas Petrauskas (31), of Oak Manor, Drumgola Wood, Co Cavan denies possessing the cash as the proceeds of crime on October 15, 2010.

Co-accused Audronis Bieliauskas (28) of Crosby Road, Forest Gate, London in the UK, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the same charge.

The money was seized from Mr Bieliauskas' luggage as he was about to board a flight from Dublin to the Netherlands.

The court heard Mr Petrauskas worked as a driver for Cavan Waste Disposal, earning between €22,000 and €26,000 annually.

Detective Garda Richard Lynch told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that Mr Petrauskas was arrested in September 2010.

During garda interviews, Mr Petrauskas said he had loaned the money to his friend Mr Bieliauskas so he could buy cars in Amsterdam.

He said the loan was for a 12-month period and that he felt he would benefit from loaning “all his savings” to his friend.

“He had made me a good offer, he was going to buy me a car,” said Mr Petrauskas.

Mr Petrauskas said he saved between €800 and €1,000 a month from his wages but that he didn't keep his savings in the bank as it was “not safe”.

When asked by gardaí how he managed to save €45,550 and then give it all away, Mr Petrauskas said, “I am not hiding anything. It's from my savings. That money was saved in seven years in small bits.”

He said he also had a small business with a friend involving three shops, two of which they sold and one closed down.

His business ventures included a small cash and carry called “Baltic Groceries” in Kilgarry, and a grocery chain called Cent Market with shops in Mullingar, Carrickmacross and Oldcastle.

Mr Petrauskas said he didn't get along with his friend because they couldn't agree how to split the proceeds of the sale of the two shops. “I got around €16,000 or €17,000,” he said.

He also said that about €10,000 of the €45,550 was from his girlfriend.

The court heard that Mr Petrauskas and his girlfriend got several letters from the bank when they struggled to pay their mortgage, but that they made late payments using his savings.

Mr Petrauskas admitted to gardaí that he had emailed Mr Bieliauskas instructions on what to tell the authorities.

An extract of his email, translated from Lithuanian, read as follows: “Basically, the story is: we know each other for 10 years already and before Ireland we were in car business, even in Lithuania. I've lent you money few times, 15 thousand, 20 thousand and you always returned them on time, that's why I trusted you 100%.”

Mr Petrauskas agreed with gardaí that the purpose of the email was that he and Mr Bieliausksas would have “the same story”.

The trial continues before Judge Patricia Ryan and a jury of seven men and five women at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

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