Thursday 14 December 2017

Almost €45,000 found in luggage at Dublin Airport by detector dog, court hears

Dublin Airport
Dublin Airport

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin Airport customs officer has described how he found almost €45,000 in the luggage of one man accused of possessing laundered money.

Ronan O’Hanlon said he searched Audronis Bieliauskas’ bag after a cash detector dog reacted to the luggage during a controlled screening of passengers flying from Dublin to Amsterdam.

Mr O’Hanlon told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that Mr Bieliauskas initially said he had €5,000. He said the accused then told him the bag contained €20,000, before admitting the amount was about €45,000.

Audronis Bieliauskas (28) of Crosby Road, Forest Gate, London in the UK, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing €44,550 in cash as the proceeds of crime on October 15, 2010.

Deividas Petrauskas (31), of Oak Manor, Drumgola Woods, Co Cavan, has pleaded not guilty to the same charge.

Mr O’Hanlon said Mr Bieliauskas told him he had travelled to Dublin from London earlier that morning because his direct flight to Amsterdam had been cancelled.

He said Mr Bieliauskas explained a friend had booked the flights for him as the cheapest way to get to Amsterdam. He said he was going to meet two other friends, whose surnames he didn’t know, with cash belonging to his family to buy cars.

Mr O’Hanlon said Mr Bieliauskas told him his family had a car dealership, but the business didn’t have a website. Mr O’Hanlon said the accused told him the family business sold about 50 cars a year. He refused to sign the notes of this conversation.

Mr O’Hanlon told Mr McGinn that he seized the money and placed it in a tamper proof bag.

Paul Greene SC, defending Mr Bieliauskas, asked the witness why there were no pictures of the money to show the jury. Mr O’Hanlon replied that he had never heard of any “cash case” in which photos were taken.

A Revenue officer in the Investigations and Prosecutions division told Mr McGinn that she received a solicitor’s letter on behalf of Mr Bieliauskas.

Susan Fitzgerald said she received another letter on behalf of Mr Petrauskas in early 2011 informing her that the seized money belonged to him and that he had loaned it to Mr Bieliauskas.

Ms Fitzgerald told Mr McGinn that Mr Petrauskas arrived at her office and said he had saved the money and kept it under his bed before lending it to the co-accused.

Mr Petrauskas said the deal was he would be paid back in a month and also receive a car.

The trial continues before Judge Patricia Ryan and a jury of six women and six men.

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