THE CRIMINAL Assets Bureau has been granted a freezing order against the family home of a man described by gardai as “one of the biggest suppliers of illegal drugs in Munster”.
The home of alleged criminal gang member Edward McCarthy is one of two Limerick houses subject to the order made at the High Court today.
The other, a five minute walk away in the “stronghold” of the McCarthy/Ryan organised crime gang, is owned by Mr McCarthy’s partner’s father Anthony Mullane.
Mr Justice Raymond Fullam made an order that prohibits them from disposing of, diminishing in value, or otherwise dealing with either house.
The Proceeds of Crime case was brought by CAB.
The house at Cliona Park, Moyross was originally bought by an innocent couple but while they remain registered owners, it has “long since been associated with” Mr McCarthy and his family, according to gardai.
Mr McCarthy now states it is his family home and he lives there with Ms Mullane and their five children.
Mr McCarthy’s partner Linda is the daughter of Mr Mullane, who is registered owner of the second house at Creagh Avenue, Kileely, Limerick.
In his judgement, Mr Justice Fullam said that the respondents were unable to provide any evidence of incomes through their businesses. There was no evidence of legitimate income to offset their “high expenditure and lifestyle,” he said.
No legitimate means of income or explanation had been found that would have allowed them to purchase the properties without the proceeds of crime, Judge Fullam said.
The court was satisfied there was “no risk of injustice”.
Detectives believed Mr McCarthy bought the Cliona Park house in 2003 as he was facing prison and wanted his family looked after by close associates living nearby.
In an affidavit, Det Chief Supt Eugene Corcoran, of CAB stated he believed the property was the proceeds of crime.
Grounds he stated were that Mr McCarthy has a “history of involvement in serious criminal activity” and has generated “substantial monies” from the drugs trade.
Other grounds were that he and Mr Mullane were associates and that Linda Mullane had also been guilty of serious criminal conduct.
The affidavit went on to state that Mr McCarthy had not made any tax returns and there was little or no evidence of him earning income from legitimate sources.
The “pattern of purchasing” for the properties was not explained by legitimate income and the pattern of acquisition was “consistent with the practice of money laundering.”
Gardai believe there was “considerable incentive” for Mr McCarthy to buy the Cliona Park house and Mr Mullane was used as an intermediary in its purchase.
Det Chief Supt Corcoran said CAB officers had been unable to identify legitimate income that would have enabled Mr Mullane’s purchase of the house at Creagh Avenue in 2012.
He believed Mr McCarthy was the beneficial owner of the property of this house and Mr Mullane was a “front” to disguise the true owner.
Det Supt James Browne stated he believed Mr McCarthy was involved in the importation and distribution of controlled drugs in the Limerick area.
Det Gda Brendan Hand stated Mr McCarthy and his brother John “Fat” McCarthy were among the leaders of the McCarthy/Ryan Organised Crime Gang and previously the McCarthy/Dundon gang
Both gangs had an ongoing feud with the Keane/Collopy gang, which had resulted in the murder of more than 17 people since 2000, Det Supt Browne stated.
Mr McCarthy had 28 convictions and was sentenced for violent disorder in 2003, and Det Supt Browne believed he was “one of the biggest suppliers of illegal drugs in Munster and a significant supplier in Dublin.”
Det Supt Browne said Ms Lysaght told gardai she sold the house to “the son of Pa McCarthy.” There was “clear evidence” Edward McCarthy considered himself the owner of the Cliona Park property.
The Creagh Avenue property, located within the “stronghold” of the McCarthy/Ryan gang, was bought by Mr Mullane through an agent in 2012 for €68,000 in cash. Mr Mullane told gardai he had saved money from his steel doors business. There was no record of earning or income tax returns from Mr Mullane. He claimed Mr McCarthy had no involvement in the purchase of the house but gardai stated €10,000 from an account in his name was used.
Mr McCarthy gave evidence that he was the beneficial owner of the house at Cliona Park, which was his family home. He denied it was purchased through the proceeds of crime, and further denied that he was a member of a criminal gang, or that Mr Mullane was involved in any serious criminal activity.
He said he agreed to pay Ms Lysaght €10,000 for the house but only gave her between €3,000 and €5,000. He claimed he did not have the house registered in his name because Ms Lysaght neglected to organise this and they did not involve solicitors.
He said his only income was from breeding and training horses, while Ms Mullane was in receipt of €530 per month in child benefits. Mr McCarthy said he had no bank account in his name.
He claimed the €10,000 he paid toward the purchase of Creagh Avenue came from a personal injuries award. He denies he was or is the beneficial owner of the house.
Mr Mullane denied purchasing the Creagh Avenue house through the proceeds of crime, or that he was involved in serious criminal activity.
His business had failed in 2012 and he was since dependent on his wife’s income as a hospital kitchen worker. He kept no business records because he was semi-literate, he said.
He bought the house in Creagh Avenue for his daughter.
In a legal aid application, Mr McCarthy stated assets included three stallions and eight mares, a VW Golf, a Ford S-Max and a Rolex watch. There were records of “significant travel and long vacations” by Mr McCarthy and his family.
Legal aid was granted to both men.