Sunday 25 February 2018

Director accused of having €1.9m in crime proceeds in connection with forestry investment company will face trial

Businessman Garret Hevey (41) arrives at Dublin District Court
Businessman Garret Hevey (41) arrives at Dublin District Court

Tom Tuite

A COMPANY director has been sent forward for trial accused of having €1.9m in crime proceeds in connection with a forestry investment business.

Businessman Garret Hevey, 41, of Brookdene, Shankill, Co. Dublin had been charged in February with deception by inducing a named man to pay him £52,000stg (€59,500) at Allied Irish Bank, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin on February 23 last year.

He was also charged that on June 13 last year at AIB on George's Street, in Dun Laoghaire he was in possession of €1,982,825 in crime proceeds.

Last month he was further charged with one offence under the Companies Act for fraudulent trading and two additional counts of deception by inducing people to pay him approximately £23,000 (€26,000).

He appeared again at Dublin District Court on Thursday where he was served with the book of evidence by Inspector Catharina Gunne of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.

The court has heard the case involved 2,000 exhibits.

The Director of Public Prosecutions directed that Mr Hevey is to face trial on indictment, meaning his case will go before a judge and jury in the circuit court, on all five charges.

Judge Michael Walsh told him he was being returned for trial to the higher court where he will face his next hearing on July 7 next. Mr Hevey, who remains on bail, has not yet indicated how he will plead.

Judge Walsh warned him that if he intended to rely on an alibi in his defence he must inform the prosecution within 14 days.

Defence solicitor Richard Young said his client wanted to go on a holiday within the State and a slight amendment to his bail was required. He cannot go abroad because his passport has been seized, the court heard.

Judge Walsh told him that he will have to sign on at his local Garda station.

In February, Hevey’s bail was set in his own bond of €5,000 of which half had to be lodged in court with a €20,000 independent surety of which €10,000 had to be lodged.

At his first hearing, Inspector Gunne had told the court the defendant was a director and shareholder in Arden Forestry Management Ltd. It was alleged the company investors based outside the State transferred sums to the AIB account and it appeared as if they were investing in a legitimate forestry business with legitimate folios, sites and timber certificates.

The court has heard that married father-of-one Mr Hevey has lived at his home for the past nine years and there is a mortgage on his property.

As a condition of bail he had to hand over his passport to gardai, reside at his home address, not apply for a new passport, be contactable always via mobile phone, have no contact with alleged injured parties and sign on three times a week at his local Garda station.

A co-accused, UK national David Piele, 40, a father-of-two with an address at Rectory Way, Bray, Co. Wicklow is also before the courts but has faced separate hearings.

He is solely charged with deception offences.

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