A MAN and his wife are fighting a bid to seize their family home over claims they are linked to a Traveller crime gang.
The Criminal Assets Bureau claims Andrew Wall is a member of the 'Cock Wall' clan which travels the country committing robberies, the High Court heard.
He has 11 previous convictions, including for possession of firearms and manslaughter, for which he served a six-year prison term, and one for possession of stolen jewellery following that imprisonment.
Mr Wall (34) allegedly threatened the vendor of the house at Piercetown, Newbridge, Kildare, when the sale went "horribly wrong".
The vendor was allegedly left €100,000 short on the purchase price because of an "under the table" deal proposed by Mr Wall, the court was also told.
Mr Wall and his wife Ellen are opposing CAB's application to have forfeit to the State their home, an 18 carat diamond ring worth €6,100, a VW golf car, and cash sums of €10,900 and £1,180 (€1,317) which were seized in a search of their home on July 6, 2007.
CAB claims the couple have no visible means of support but are exhibiting signs of wealth, including the regular purchase of cars using fictitious names and the decoration of their home to a very high standard.
A forensic accountant has examined their bank accounts which had shown a total of €416,462 has been put through them between 2002 and 2007 while they have had no known sources of income, the High Court was told.
Former CAB chief bureau office John O'Mahoney, now Assistant Garda Commissioner, told the court the vendor of the Piercetown house was later too scared to make a complaint about the missing €100,000 because he had been threatened by Andrew Wall.
It was three to four years later before the vendor made a statement and only after he was approached by CAB, O'Mahoney said.
In an affidavit to the court, another CAB officer said the man who sold the Piercetown house to the Walls in 2004 agreed a deal that Mr Wall would officially pay €140,000 and give him a further €100,000 in cash but the deal went "horribly wrong".
The vendor was going through divorce proceedings and was in arrears on his mortgage when Mr Wall suggested the €100,000 deal. Mr Wall was ready to hand over the €100,000, just before the official closing of the sale at the vendor's solicitor's office, the CAB officer said. The paperwork was not ready and a second closing was set up.
On the second occasion, the vendor's ex-boss agreed to go to a hotel with Mr Wall where the bag of money was counted while the vendor went to his solicitor's office to close the sale for €100,000. After the vendor completed the sale, he got a call from his ex-boss to say Wall and another man who had accompanied him had "disappeared" with the money, the CAB officer said.
Ellen Wall told the court the price agreed for the Piercetown house was €140,000, not €240,000 as CAB had claimed.
The hearing concluded yesterday and Mr Justice Kevin Feeney said he would hear legal submissions next month.