Charge over theft from Dr McAleese
A MAN has appeared in court charged with the theft of over €4,000 from the husband of President Mary McAleese.
Dr Martin McAleese, who is accompanying the President on an official six-day visit to China, is one of the victims of an alleged bank card cloning operation.
Romanian national Costel Asimioanei (27), from Celbridge, Co Kildare, is accused of stealing €4,250 on eight different occasions at locations across Dublin and Kildare -- including several petrol stations, shops and an hotel -- from Dr McAleese's bank account.
The offences, under Section 4 of the Theft and Fraud Offences Act, are alleged to have happened on dates between December 12 and 20 last year.
Mr Asimioanei has also been charged with the possession of card-skimming equipment and theft from the account of a second victim. He was brought before Dublin District Court and remanded in custody after gardai objected to bail.
Garda Alan Murphy, of Terenure garda station, told the court that investigators believed Mr Asimioanei posed a flight risk and would not stand trial if granted bail.
He said the defendant was a Romanian national with no ties to this jurisdiction and had no job here nor did he have any dependents living in Ireland.
He is understood to have been living with his girlfriend and her mother at the time of his arrest.
"We have his passport but I still believe he could find a means of leaving the country should he so wish," said Garda Murphy.
At the hearing Judge William Hamill said he was remanding Mr Asimioanei in custody. He also sent the accused forward for trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.