Wednesday 21 November 2018

Monk paid up to stop CAB questioning wife

Threat of eviction from his Clontarf home was final straw

Nicola Tallant

Master criminal Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, reached a €1.5m tax settlement with the CAB because he was afraid his wife was going to be questioned by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

The crook also feared his family were going to be evicted from their home in the Dublin suburb of Clontarf and was adamant he would never go back to jail.

The revelations are made by former CAB Chief Felix McKenna in the TV3 programme Dirty Money, which exposes the full criminal career of the man who says he is a law-abiding citizen.

Hutch went on RTE's Primetime, to claim he is an innocent man and should not be described in the media as a major criminal.

However, the documentary that forced him to appear on television to defend his honour, will portray him as exactly that.

In the programme, the former head of the Criminal Assets Bureau, Felix McKenna, describes Hutch as a master armed robber with a ''cunning criminal brain.''

He describes how, in 2000, a major garda security operation had to be put in place when Hutch agreed to deposit €500,000 in cash in a city centre bank as part of his tax settlement.

Senior gardai put a ring of steel around a Talbot Street bank, as they feared Hutch might follow Martin Cahill's lead and attempt to steal the money back after handing it over the counter as part of a €1.2m CAB settlement.

McKenna, who retired in 2006, says Hutch became a secretive master criminal after a number of his associates were shot dead during robberies in the 1990s.

"A number of his associates and members of his gang were shot dead during robberies, by police officers who confronted them in the course of the raids. He changed his MO after that and became very secretive. He adopted a complete change of attitude and became one of those masterminds who simply planned robberies. He took a long time working on intelligence, for instance, on security van routes or security depots.

"He had a cunning criminal brain. As the years progressed, his inner circle built up intelligence and timings about when and where large cash deliveries would be made and where vans would be at particular times," the former CAB chief says.

"As the years progressed, Hutch became a very complex character. He trusted very few people. That was his MO -- the less people who know your business, the safer you are. He was assisted by other criminal masterminds who were very skilled at hiding money and, who were in a position to advise him how to launder cash."

McKenna details how the Bureau landed Hutch with a €1.5m tax liability bill in 1997, after a massive investigation into his finances.

Although the money from the Marino Mart robbery and the Brink/Allied raid has never been found, the bill was based on a £300,000 (€450,000) bank account he admitted owning in Newry.

Following years of legal challenges, McKenna says a threat to lay claim to the family home in Clontarf, eventually convinced him to pay up.

Hutch agreed to pay €1.2m in March 2000. In June, he came to the bureau headquarters late one evening, and handed over a €500,000 bank draft to part-pay his bill.

He later sold two properties on Buckingham Street and then agreed to deposit the cash at a bank in Talbot Street, to settle what he owed.

McKenna says it was a threat to question his wife that really spurred Hutch to pay up.

"We would initiated proceedings which would have led us to a forced eviction at his family home to satisfy the tax judgment. That brought the fight too close to his family. Our next logical step would have been to arrest his wife and interview her. He was very anxious that no member of his family be brought into the CAB investigation and particularly his wife. He had no problem with himself because that was his lifestyle," says McKenna.

"He had little choice. It was a case of 'pay up or suffer the consequences' and he didn't want to find himself on the side of the road and looking at prosecution for breaches of the revenue laws."

McKenna says that Hutch was very quiet and pensive as he handed over the first draft.

"He could only be described as 'a whiter shade of pale', when he was handing it over. It caused him a lot of grief to part with so much money."

Dirty Money is on TV3 tomorrow at 10pm.

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