Friday 23 March 2018

Solicitor admits dishonestly getting €8.8m bank loan

Tom Brady Security Editor

A former solicitor has admitted he was involved in a fraud in which money was borrowed from a bank to buy land but was never paid back.

John Duffy (44), from Clogheen, Monasterevin, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty at Naas Circuit Court to dishonestly obtaining a loan of €8.825m from Investec bank in 2007, drawn in favour of French Furze Holdings Ltd, with the intention of making a gain for himself or for others, under section 7 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001.

He is one of three men before the court at present in connection with an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the granting of the loan.

One of Mr Duffy's clients, Tony McAuliffe (70), who was described as a livestock dealer from French Furze, Kildare town, had previously pleaded guilty to a similar offence at a court hearing in October.

Both men were remanded on bail to appear before the court in Naas tomorrow week.

Fraud officers gave evidence at a previous district court hearing that it was a complex case in which two companies had been set up to convince the bank to loan the €8.825m for the purchase of land, and one of the conditions of the loan was that there would be a third-party buyer and a €7m deposit, which never existed.

They said that legal documents had been sent to the bank to show that a contract existed for the sale of the land to a third party.

They added that the bank would never have loaned the money if the €7m deposit had not existed.

That hearing also heard Mr Duffy had lost his legal practice and had a limited income.

Irish Independent

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