A PROPERTY developer who fled Ireland three years ago is free to move around Europe because gardai cannot arrest him unless he comes home.
Former Howard Holdings boss Greg Coughlan quit Ireland after failing to supply a statement of means to the High Court.
And the Irish Independent has confirmed that gardai cannot seek a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for him.
In 2010, a Luxembourg company took legal action against Mr Coughlan and other officials of Howard Holdings over a debt of nearly €30m.
The developer had a judgment of €28m against him, but fled to Portugal without complying with the court directive.
He was found to be in contempt of court and an arrest warrant was issued. Mr Justice Peter Kelly accused him of "playing cat and mouse" with the court.
However, because the arrest warrant related to a contempt of court issue here, it cannot be enforced in another jurisdiction. He has not been in Ireland since early 2010.
Gardai are aware of his location, but he can only be arrested if he returns to Ireland. A garda source said: "We have no involvement. It is a civil matter."
He now lives in Portugal, but spends time in Spain and the UK where he has family.
His five-bedroomed villa, Fastnet House, near Kinsale, Co Cork, is in the process of being sold. It has a €3.5m asking price after being built for more than €5m.
Mr Coughlan ran a property development empire from London in the 1980s before switching his focus to Ireland before the Celtic Tiger boom.
His firm was also involved in overseas development projects in Poland, Portugal, the UK and South Africa.
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 around €20m for Polish land deals.
Loparco wanted the statements as part of its efforts to execute judgment orders for €28.1m granted to it by the High Court.