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Farmer tells money laundering trial how loan he sought never came through


Stock photo

Stock photo

Stock photo

A farmer has told the trial of a former psychic charged with money laundering he “wouldn't have bought a matchbox” from the man who was helping him to secure a €15 million loan if he knew then what he knew now.

Simon Gold (54) with an address of Augharan, Aughavas, Co. Leitrim, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 22 charges including money laundering, theft, deception and control of false instruments on dates between January 1, 2010 and October 22, 2012.

The trial has heard that Mr Gold accepted he had used the names Simon Gold, Simon Gould, Simon Magnier and Niall O'Donoghue. The trial has also heard Mr Gold acknowledged he is responsible for an Ulster Bank account in the name of Anglo Irish Global Ltd.

On the tenth day of evidence before the jury, Justin Burke told Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, that he was a farmer from Co. Galway. He said he was involved in dairy farming, beef and “peddling horses”.

Mr Burke said he once sold a trailer to a man who later told him before Christmas of 2010 that he knew someone who could provide him with funding. He said he needed funding to renegotiate loans of over €30 million from three banks which he had taken out to purchase land.

He said he wanted to start a new farm, as some of his father's farm had been zoned for building. He said that the banks were not lending at the time due to the downturn.

Mr Burke said he organised to meet with a man named Tim Tierney who he believed was from Charleville, Co. Cork. “If I knew what I knew now, I wouldn't have bought a matchbox from him,” he said.

He said he arranged to get a loan of €15 million from Leicester Capital, but that he needed to prove he had access to €800,000 in order to secure the loan. He said Mr Tierney told him he knew someone who could provide proof of funds for a payment of €28,000.

Mr Burke said his sister transferred €28,000 to the bank account of Belgravia Consultants UK Ltd. He said he received a document stating that he and his father had over €961,000 in an Irish Nationwide Bank account.

He said he knew the document was fictitious as they never had an account with Irish Nationwide Bank. He said the loan never came through and they never got the €28,000 back.

Mr Burke was shown in court a letter from Irish Nationwide Bank bearing the signature of Simon Magnier, which said he and his father were long-standing clients and they had €961,000 in an account. He said they did not have an account with Irish Nationwide Bank and never had that money.

Dominic McGinn SC, defending, asked him to describe Mr Tierney in case the jury were concerned he might be Mr Gold. Mr Burke described him as being slim and gaunt, “like putting a suit on a jockey”.

Earlier in the trial, Marie Townsend told Mr Staines that she worked for the Central Bank of Ireland. Ms Townsend said that Irish Nationwide Bank does not hold authorisation from the Central Bank of Ireland.

The trial continues in legal argument today before Judge Nolan, with the jury not expected back until next Tuesday.

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