Fugitive developer cannot be arrested, say gardai
GARDAI are aware of three addresses in the UK, Spain and Portugal being used by a property developer who fled Ireland three years ago.
However, gardai cannot seek a European Arrest Warrant for former Howard Holdings boss Greg Coughlan, who quit Ireland after failing to supply a statement of means to the High Court.
Mr Coughlan had a judgment of €28m made against him but flew to Portugal without complying with the High Court order.
He was subsequently found to be in contempt of court and an arrest warrant was issued for him.
Despite gardai calling to Mr Coughlan's former address in Kinsale, Co Cork, on numerous occasions, they have had no direct contact with the developer since he left Ireland in 2010.
Gardai are satisfied that the developer has not been in the jurisdiction for three years.
'CAT AND MOUSE'
Mr Justice Peter Kelly accused the developer of "playing cat and mouse" with the High Court. However, because the arrest warrant issued relates to a contempt of court issue in Ireland it cannot be enforced in any other jurisdiction.
Gardai do not have the grounds to seek a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and Mr Coughlan can only be detained if he voluntarily agrees to return to Ireland to face the outstanding High Court matters against him.
He is now living in Portugal though he also spends time in Spain and the UK.
Mr Coughlan ran a property development empire from London in the 1980s before switching the focus of the operation back to Ireland before the Celtic Tiger boom.
Mr Coughlan was the only one of three Howard Holdings officials who failed to supply a statement of assets to the High Court sought by Loparco SA, a Luxembourg-registered company through which investors provided some €20m for Polish land deals.