Sunday 21 January 2018

Family 'baffled' by son's arrest for gold smuggling in India

Edwin Minihan, who was arrested Kochi Airport
Edwin Minihan, who was arrested Kochi Airport

Shane Phelan and Conor Feehan

The family of an Irishman arrested for allegedly smuggling 10kg of gold into India have said they are "baffled and stunned" by his detention.

Father-of-one Edwin Minihan was arrested at Kochi International Airport after arriving there from Dubai on Monday.

Indian police allege he had 10 gold bars, valued at around €340,000, hidden in his jacket, waistcoat and pants pockets when he was stopped at a customs check-in the arrivals hall.

Mr Minihan (42), from New Ross, Co Wexford, works in Dubai as a sales director for Tango Telecom, a company headquartered in Limerick.

His family told the Irish Independent he was in India on a business trip.

However, this was disputed by his employers, who said he was not on any authorised business for the company at the time of his arrest.

Mr Minihan's mother Teresa described the situation as "unbelievably horrific".

"It is getting worse as time goes on," she said.

"We don't really know what happened. We haven't been able to speak to him."

Mrs Minihan said her son had only been allowed a single one-minute phone call, to his wife Laura Kruger, with whom he has a six-year-old daughter.

She was in her native Germany at the time.

Officials from the Irish Embassy in New Delhi were subsequently in contact with the family on Tuesday morning and a lawyer has been appointed to represent Mr Minihan.

Teresa Minihan said the lawyer had said her son was in jail and that the situation was "serious".

"Edwin was the most fantastic son. He never in his life did anything," she said.

"We are totally baffled and stunned. He is the kindest person you would ever meet.

"Any of his friends in Dubai would have the height of praise for him. He is always doing things for others. That may be his weakness in a way.

"We feel he may have been doing this for someone else, we don't know. But they are putting a terrible slant on it."

In a statement, Indian customs officials said the gold bars were 24-carat purity.

Local media quoted a customs source who linked the arrest to a gold smuggling racket between the Middle East and the Indian state of Kerala.

Mr Minihan has been living in Dubai for the past nine years.

He has worked for a number of telecommunications companies there and previously worked for Enterprise Ireland in Germany.

His family is well known in the New Ross area, where is father Eoin is an engineer and a director of the John F Kennedy Trust.

Irish Independent

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