Tuesday 17 September 2019

'Ex-psychic' found guilty of €1.6m theft and money laundering

Trial: Simon Gold, a former alleged psychic and convicted thief and money launderer, will be
sentenced in July
Trial: Simon Gold, a former alleged psychic and convicted thief and money launderer, will be sentenced in July

Brion Hoban

A former alleged psychic has been convicted of the theft and money laundering of €1.6m.

Simon Gold (54), with an address of Augharan, Aughavas, Co Leitrim, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 22 charges including money laundering, theft, deception and control of false instruments on dates between January 1, 2010 and October 22, 2012.

After over two weeks of evidence, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on 20 counts after deliberating for over 12 hours.

The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on a single count of deception relating to €28,000 transferred by Justin Burke, a farmer from Co Galway, to a bank account linked to Gold.

Judge Martin Nolan thanked the jury for its service.

He remanded Gold in custody and adjourned the matter for sentencing on July 31.

During the trial, the jury heard that Gold represented himself as a highly qualified financier, merchant banker or financial consultant.

It was the State's case that four Irish men who were unable to secure bank loans as a result of the global financial crisis approached Gold seeking loans of large sums of money.

Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, told the jury that in 2011 these men were deceived into transferring what they believed were down payments into bank accounts controlled by Gold in order to secure the loans. The men gave evidence of transferring a total of €28,000 and £50,000 into bank accounts linked to Gold. None of the loans ever came through for them.

Kurt Lauridsen, a Danish businessman, said he transferred two tranches of €800,000 in October, 2012.

He told the court he transferred the money into what he thought was a bank account controlled by himself and his lawyer, but was in fact an Ulster Bank account in Dublin controlled by Gold.

He said he was later contacted by gardaí and informed that the account had been frozen.

In interview with gardaí, Gold agreed that he had dispersed some of the funds into various accounts, including into an account in the name of Niall O'Donoghue.

The jury heard that Gold also accepted he used the names Simon Gold, Simon Gould, Simon Magnier and Niall O'Donoghue.

Detective Garda Deirdre Heenehan testified that during their investigations gardaí seized a laptop which contained a number of audio recordings which she said were relevant to the case.

On a recording made on October 15, 2012, which was played to the jury, two men can be heard speaking to each other.

One of the men, who is referred to as "Niall" by the other, tells the other that the "first flag that's raised we're fucked" and if they freeze the account "we get nothing".

Irish Independent

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