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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Mystery firm revealed as owner of 'abducted' tycoon's mansion

Cormac McQuinn and Caroline Crawford

Published 18/02/2013 | 04:00

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Kevin Michael McGeever’s mansion in Craughwell, Co Galway
An out building at Kevin Michael McGeever’s mansion in Craughwell, Co Galway

THE luxury mansion where property tycoon Kevin McGeever lived before he went missing for eight months is owned by a mystery company with no obvious links to the alleged kidnap victim.

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Land Registry papers show that the Co Galway property, which he called "Nirvana", is owned by Uni-versal Assets Limited, with an Athlone firm of solicitors named on the documents as a contact. A trawl of company records has revealed that the only firm with that name in Ireland was dissolved 14 years ago.

Mr McGeever's name is not mentioned in any of the paperwork sent by the firm to the Company Records Office.

A director of a British company that is also called Universal Assets Limited has told the Irish Independent that it does not own the Galway mansion and has never had any dealings with Mr McGeever.

The Mayo-born businessman disappeared for eight months before being found wandering barefoot on a road near the Cavan-Leitrim border on January 29.

He was in an emaciated state, disorientated and had a long beard.

His partner, Siobhan O'Callaghan, had reported him missing last June, a month after his disappearance.

When he was found, he was taken to Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar, having told gardai and his family that he had been abducted from his home in Galway.

He was unable to supply any details about his captivity, why he was abducted or by whom.

Allegations have emerged since his re-appearance that he fraudulently sold properties in Dubai at addresses that did not exist, and in other cases simultaneously sold the same apartment multiple times to different people.

He has appeared on Interpol wanted lists over the past decade due to suspected fraudulent business dealings in California as well as in the United Arab Emirates.

Mr McGeever left hospital last Monday without giving gardai investigating his alleged abduction a forwarding address.

His current whereabouts are unknown.

When his brother, Brendan, was asked if he could contact Mr McGeever to request an interview in relation to the Galway property, he said: "I can't help you there. I don't know where he is."

The palatial mansion, in Craughwell, Co Galway, where Mr McGeever was living before his disappearance is on two acres and features a fountain, large garage and stables.

It was sold unfinished by the developer who built it, Manus Murray.

Attempts to contact Mr Murray to ask him about the sale were unsuccessful.

Mr McGeever was said to have been living in the garage because the rooms in the main building had not been completed.

The mansion currently appears to be uninhabited.

Ownership papers for the property show it was bought under the company name Universal Assets Limited, with the deal coming into effect on July 28, 2008.

The company's address is listed as c/o Anthony Barry & Co Solicitors, Epworth Hall, Northgate Street, Athlone, Co Westmeath.

Mr Barry told the Irish Independent he sold his practice in 2005, but added that his successors who bought the firm could have dealt with the property sale.

Debt

Anthony Barry & Co Solicitors was taken over by another Athlone lawyer, Orla Cummins, who is listed as Mr McGeever's representative in a High Court case dating from 2009.

Ms Cummins did not respond to several requests for comment on the ownership of the mansion and answers to questions about Universal Assets Limited and Mr McGeever's connection with it.

Irish Independent

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