| 17.6°C Dublin

Child porn suspect gave €250k to girlfriend

A MAN the FBI has called "the largest facilitator of child porn in the world" told the High Court yesterday that he gave €250,000 to his Romanian girlfriend.

He said that the rest of his daily expenses went on McDonald's, escorts and petrol.

The court heard how Eric Eoin Marques said he gave the cash to the woman to build a house in Romania but later discovered that the land where the property was to be built belonged to her other boyfriend.

Mr Marques, (28) with an address at Mountjoy Square in central Dublin, is alleged to be the owner and administrator of an anonymous hosting site known as Freedom Hosting. He is wanted by US authorities to face charges of conspiring to distribute and advertise child pornography.

He has been in custody since his arrest in August last year. He was refused bail over concerns he represented a flight risk and that he may abscond or interfere with evidence in the case.

The charges against Marques relate to images on over a hundred anonymous websites described as being extremely violent, graphic and depicting the rape and torture of pre-pubescent children.

Fees

In the High Court yesterday lawyers for Marques applied for legal aid in advance of a judicial review application of the DPP's decision not to prosecute him in Ireland.

Marques said his father had been paying legal fees on his behalf because his money was frozen by the FBI.

The court heard evidence that Marques set up a business in 2002 through which he earned what would amount to €1.15m from 2007 to 2012.

Counsel for Marques, Mark Lynam BL, asked his client to account for cash withdrawals of €307,000, drawn down from accounts held in his name between 2006 and 2013.

Marques told the court he gave €250,000 to his Romanian girlfriend and the remaining money was used for living expenses.

Marques said he gave her money to build a house in Romania where they had planned to live together but a friend of hers later told him that the land on which this house was being built belonged to her other boyfriend.

When asked what happened to a BMW jeep he bought in February 2013 for €21,000, Marques said he changed ownership of the vehicle to his sister which she then sold to pay off legal debts to his father.

Marques said he earned approximately €600,000 between 2007 and 2010 and after that he earned about €250,000 a year.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


Privacy