Monday 19 March 2018

Six people with alleged links to Kinahan cartel apply for legal aid after gardaí seize luxury cars, watches and cash

Tim Healy

The High Court has been asked to approve legal aid for six individuals who want to oppose claims by CAB that certain assets seized as part of its investigation into the Kinahan crime gang are the proceeds of crime.

CAB had previously secured court orders freezing assets including jewelry, motorbikes, property and cars  which it seized following raids at various locations in March 2016. 

CAB's proceedings are against several parties including Liam Byrne, who the bureau says is a member of the Kinahan gang, and several of his associates.

Byrne's brother David was shot dead in the Regency Hotel in February 2016.

The legal aid applications were made on behalf of Kelly Quinn, Sean McGovern, Anita Freeman, James Byrne, Sadie Byrne, and Liam Roe, were opposed by CAB.

The say they cannot afford to pay lawyers to represent them in what will be a lengthy and complex case.  

In her sworn statement, Ms Quinn, an unemployed mother of two and the partner of the late David Byrne, has made claim that a almost €8,000 seized by the gardai following a search of her home at Kildare Road Crumlin should be returned to her.

She says the money came from "a whip around" from friends following her partner's death and are not the proceeds of crime. She says she lives in rental accommodation and her only asset is her car. 

The late Mr Byrne's parents Sadie and James Byrne of Raleigh Square Crumlin are also seeking legal aid.

Mr Byrne says in his affidavit and his only income is his old age pension.  He claims a Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch worth €35,000 seized by the gardai is not the proceeds of crime.

His wife Sadie, who is also in receipt of the OAP of €227 per week, has made a claim over an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch which belonged to her late son, worth an estimated €12,500, and a Lexus Jeep worth €22,500, which was registered in the name of a company.

Liam Roe an unemployed man of Mangerton Road, Drimnagh, is seeking legal aid over the seizure of an Audi A5 car and a Kawasaki motorbike worth a total of €38,000. He denies he is a member of any organised crime gang.

He says he is not in receipt of any income or any social welfare, has no assets other than ones that were seized, and receives funding from his father.    

Sean McGovern and Anita Freeman also seek legal aid. He wishes to contest CAB claims over their "de facto family home at Kildare Road, Crumlin. Ms Freeman is making a claim in respect of a BMW car, worth €23,000 seized by CAB.

Mr McGovern says he no other assets aside from the property and that the couple and their two young children are living off allowances benefits from the State plus a redundancy payment his partner received in 2016.  

Opposing the applications, CAB said its investigations revealed that Mr Roe travelled to the US, UK and Spain on six occasions between July 2015 and July 2016.

He also attended the Conor McGregor Chad Mendes fight in Los Vegas in July 2015. Neither the fight nor flight tickets were paid through any known account in the name of Mr Roe.

CAB also claim there were other examples of when it had been shown Mr Roe had access to large amounts of money.

CAB says Mr Roe is unwilling to talk about money or how he funds his day to day living expenses.

He has claimed to CAB he goes to the UK to buy cars which he sells here and received a compensation of IR£330,000 arising out of a road traffic accident. 

In relation to Mr McGovern and Ms Freeman, the bureau said they are living a lifestyle far beyond what could have been their known income.

Mr McGovern, CAB said, took 16 flights in 2016 to locations including Malaga, Amsterdam, Birmingham and Dubai. Ms Freeman had take eight flights in 2016, and in recent days had flown to Manchester before travelling on to Dubai, CAB said in a sworn statement.

CAB also alleges the property was purchased by a Mauritian Trust Fund for €150,000  and renovated at a cost of

€247,000.  Ms Freeman had taken flights between 20015 and June 2017 to UK, Spain, and Las Vegas.  She had also taken one this week to Dubai, the court also heard.

Ms Quinn, CAB said, has taken seven flights out of Dublin to the UK. While the final destination was unknown the destinations are believed to include Spain, and Los Vegas. 

CAB said James Byrne who has been sold a property in Dublin in 2015 for €80,000. The couple had also sold a site for €100,000 in 2006.

Mr Byrne had also settled a claim made against him by CAB in 2004 when he paid over €200,000 following a tax assessment.

Sadie Byrne failed to supply any documents that support her claim over the Lexus Jeep, CAB say The Byrnes strongly contest claims made against by CAB in regards to the properties sales.

Ms Justice Carmel Stewart reserved her decision.

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