Tuesday 21 May 2019

It's a currency change for the worse

Marese McDonagh and Nicola Tallant

DAVID Hickey found himself £250,000 better off after a bank got its currencies confused when transferring money to his account in Spain.

But the Dubliner's good fortune was short lived.

He was arrested and brought to court in handcuffs after receiving more than euro 300,000 instead of this amount in pesetas.

Mr Hickey says the euro-blunder occurred when he went into the Bank of Ireland in Inchicore on November 10 and asked them to transfer £1,500 in pesetas to an account in Spain.

euro 316,900 was transferred instead of this amount in pesetas.

Bank staff called gardai in an effort to get back the money.

Mr Hickey said he was oblivious to his new wealth until he got a call from the bank on November 18. He then learned that a Bank of Ireland official was in Spain looking for him and he went to the police last Saturday to explain his situation.

But Mr Hickey, who is based in the tiny resort of L'Ampolla on the East coast near Salou, was told that nobody in the police station spoke English and he was asked to return on Monday.

When he did he was interviewed through an interpreter and then arrested, finger-printed and taken to court in handcuffs.

He was released but has been asked to report every two weeks until a decision is made about whether he has to stand trial.

He faces a charge of "misuse of property".

Mr Hickey (49) from Tallaght, said: "I have broken no laws but I have suffered because of the bank's mistake.

The 49-year-old who left Ireland last week for an "extended holiday" in Spain with his wife Terri, said he had spent a small amount of the money.

"I have taken a bite out of the cherry" he said.

He said he had put the money "in a secure place".

"I did not do anything wrong except to keep quiet about it".

Mr Hickey said he could have gone to South America when he discovered the error but he did not want to do that.

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