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Cheltenham winner bought with proceeds of crime - High Court

Labaik won Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham


Winner: Jack Kennedy celebrates winning the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Labaik.
Photo: Sportsfile

Winner: Jack Kennedy celebrates winning the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Labaik. Photo: Sportsfile

Winner: Jack Kennedy celebrates winning the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Labaik. Photo: Sportsfile

The High Court has ruled that a convicted drug dealer bought 90pc of the Cheltenham-winning horse Labaik with the proceeds of crime.

In a case taken against John Boylan (33), aka John Power, of Forest Hill, Rathcoole, Co Dublin, the court also found that a west Dublin property - refurbished at a cost of €630,000 - a bank account containing €77,900, a mobile home worth €33,000, and a 2015 Mercedes Benz E Class were acquired with the proceeds of crime.

Mr Boylan, who runs an animal feed business and claimed he earned "considerable sums" gambling, denied the allegations. He purchased his stake in the racehorse for €28,000 in April 2016.

However, at the High Court Ms Justice Carmel Stewart ruled that an examination of Mr Boylan's finances shows a "substantial shortfall", which has left her with the "inescapable conclusion" that the items were directly or indirectly the result of the proceeds of crime.

Ms Justice Stewart noted that in an affidavit to the court, Mr Boylan said he set up Forest Hill Animal Feeds Ltd in June 2016 and still works for this company, earning €419.56 per week. She said he also claimed he "earned considerable sums from gambling".

The court heard Mr Boylan's partner Leonie Kinsella told the court, in an affidavit, that Mr Boylan was the main earner of the household, but that she also earned money from hairdressing. She said she set up a hairdressing business in May 2016.

However, the judge noted that an analysis of the couple's finances between 2013 and 2017 left a shortfall of income of almost €30,000 without taking into account the €629,911 refurbishment of the house in Rathcoole in March 2015.

She told the court that Mr Boylan made "no substantial engagement" with the financial details of the case and that his response "amounts to little more than a denial".

Mr Boylan brought the proceedings against CAB, claiming he suffered a financial loss arising out of an injury Labaik sustained at a race on April 28, 2017. He claimed it was CAB's decision for the horse to race.

Labaik shocked the racing world when he won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March 2017 at odds of 25/1.

The horse's passport was seized by CAB officers the following month, which meant the animal couldn't travel.

It was handed back to horse trainer Gordon Elliott, who has no involvement in crime and whom the court heard owns 5pc of Labaik, ahead of the Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in April 2017, where Labaik was injured.

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Mr Boylan had alleged that he intended to sell Labaik after its Novices' Hurdle win.

However, yesterday the judge said the extent of the injury was "exaggerated" by Mr Boylan. Ms Justice Stewart also said CAB had acted appropriately. She said the decision to run the horse in Punchestown was made by Mr Elliott and facilitated by CAB.

The judge also said she found Mr Elliott be a "truthful and candid witness".

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