Friday 17 November 2017

International man of mystery was wanted by FBI in $4m fraud probe

PROPERTY developer Kevin McGeever, who told gardai he was held captive by gunmen for eight months, has twice been sought by international police forces in the past in connection with major fraud investigations.

The Mayo-born businessman has had a chequered and colourful career, displaying all of the outward signs of wealth and enjoying a lavish lifestyle.

But his name has featured on Interpol watch lists for much of the past decade.

He is currently still receiving treatment at Mullingar hospital for malnutrition and dehydration, 12 days after being found wandering a rural road outside Ballinamore, Co Leitrim.

He said he had been dumped out of a van by his captors and did not know where he had been held since he was abducted at gunpoint from the garden of his mansion home at Craugh-well, Co Galway, last May.

Gardai have been trying to locate him over the past eight months, as well as attempting to uncover the identity of his kidnappers and the reason for his abduction.

He told gardai the kidnappers had demanded the payment of a ransom before they would let him go.

But gardai say that as far as they are aware no ransom was handed over prior to his release.

As inquiries into his disappearance extend to several countries, details of the full extent of police interest in the business activities of the property magnate have been emerging.

Interpol, which acts as a link between police forces around the world, first issued what is known as a red notice about Mr McGeever in 2003.

The red notice means that police in all countries in the Interpol network should be on the lookout for the person listed and notify interested agencies if the subject's passport is being used at air or sea ports or other frontier posts.

The 2003 notice was issued by the Interpol office in Washington on behalf of the FBI in Los Angeles.

It indicated that the FBI was interested in interviewing Mr McGeever and another named man in connection with its inquiries into a suspected fraud there, involving $4m (€2.99m).

At the time, it is understood, Mr McGeever was travelling on a UK passport and driver's licence and the Irish authorities had no documentation or evidence deemed useful to the FBI.

After issuing an international red notice, a police force must then formally request the suspect's extradition and issue a warrant if they have evidence to support a criminal prosecution.

The Los Angeles red notice request remained on the Interpol list until January 2011, when it was cancelled.

During the same month, the authorities in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates posted a request for help through the Interpol red notice list on the whereabouts of Mr McGeever as he was being sought there as part of an investigation into a suspected fraud involving over €600,000.

He was referred to on the list as Kevin Michael McGeever or Caoimhin Michael McGeever.

Nine months later, Mr McGeever was arrested in Wiesbaden in southwestern Germany and the Abu Dhabi authorities sought his extradition.

This resulted in legal wrangling while the proposed extradition was under discussion and the warrant was eventually rejected by the Germans two days before Christmas in 2011.

Two months later, Interpol indicated that Mr McGeever had been located in Ireland and the onus was then placed on the Abu Dhabi authorities to go through the relevant diplomatic channels to issue an extradition warrant. But no warrant was ever issued.

The following May, according to Mr McGeever, he was kidnapped, although his disappearance was not reported to the gardai at Gort, Co Galway, until June.

Gardai have interviewed a number of former business acquaintances of the developer and have also spoken to several people who worked for him in the past.

So far they are not following any definite lines of inquiry but say they have found no evidence indicating that he had been taken out of the State while he was reported missing.

When he was found on the roadway, he looked feeble and thin and had lost over five stone in weight. He had also grown a long beard and fingernails.

An insult had also been inscribed across his forehead with a pen.

He is currently listed in legal proceedings before the High Court in a case being taken against his company, KMM International Properties. That case began in 2009.

Irish Independent

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