Wednesday 22 November 2017

Couple forfeit €30,500 after judge dismisses explanation as ‘incredible’

Sonya McLean

A COUPLE have had €30,050 confiscated and forfeited to the State after a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court judge said their explanation for the cash was incredible.

Wayne O’Sullivan (38) was stopped by custom officers in Dublin Airport on December 7, 2010 when the cash was found on him as he was about to board a UK flight.

Judge Martin Nolan said carrying that amount of money in present times would excite the suspicion of any custom and excise officer who was met with it.

He accepted that Mr O’Sullivan, of Cedar Avenue, Kingswood, Tallaght, claims that the cash was his girlfriend’s, Jean Lynch (36), of The Glade, St Wolston’s Avenue, Cellbridge, in Kildare, after she secured a loan from a UK lending company to buy a car.

However Judge Nolan noted that Ms Lynch was not present in court and had not provided an affidavit in relation to the proceedings.

He also noted that the director of the company who had supposedly leant the couple the cash was not present in court to support the claim, nor had he filed an affidavit, nor was there evidence that he had instigated his own proceedings to get his money back.

“I have no confidence in the credibility of their explanation, there is just too many holes in it,” Judge Nolan said before he added that he had no doubt that the money was intended for criminal activity.

He acceded to the State’s application to have the cash seized and forfeited to the exchequer. <

John Byrne BL, for the State, read from affidavit made by Custom Officer Anne Rooney that Mr O’Sullivan claimed when he was stopped that he was going to Leeds to buy a Volkswagen R32 Golf on behalf of his girlfriend, Ms Lynch.

He initially told the officers that the €30,050 found on him that day had come from Ms Lynch’s hair salon but later said it had been secured by way of a loan.

Ms Lynch later came to Dublin Airport and produced a loan agreement with a UK company which stated that she had borrowed Stg £25,000 at 0 percent interest.

The affidavit said the loan agreement was not on headed paper, nor was it signed or dated.

The terms and conditions outlined as part of the agreement stated that the sum borrowed would be lodged to a bank account nominated by Ms Lynch.

Ms Lynch told the officers that she had known the director of the loan company for a number of years.

The couple said Mr O’Sullivan had later changed the Stg£25,000 into euro with the intention of buying a vehicle in Ireland for Ms Lynch.

They then decided that Mr O’Sullivan would instead buy the car in Leeds and later bring it back for Ms Lynch.

The affidavit stated that the couple was not able to produce a receipt from Bureau de Change showing the exchange of the sterling into euro. It also stated that the notes found on Mr O’Sullivan were not of a quality one would expect to have been issued by Bureau de Change.

The affidavit said the fact that Mr O’Sullivan had booked his flight that evening, together with the way he was carrying the cash was suspicious and led them to believe the cash represented the proceeds of crime or was intended for use in criminal activity.

Anthony Dover, an accountant for the UK lending company, told the court that he had inspected the lending form submitted by Ms Lynch and said in his opinion it was a forgery.

He said he analysed the accounts of the company and could not see any transaction that could relate to a loan of Stg £25,000.

Mr Dover agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that a photograph presented to him depicted the director of this company, with Mr O’Sullivan.

He further agreed that if this man had given the couple a personal loan, the company records would not show this nor would he be aware of it.

Mr Dover added however, that it would be “very unusual for him to do such a thing.”

Mr Spencer submitted that the State had not proven that his clients had the cash for criminal activity or that it represented the proceeds of crime.

He said neither of them had previous convictions and as Mr O’Sullivan was working in Leeds at the time, it would not be unusual for him to arrange his flight the night before it departed.

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