Claims by drugs lord Christy Keane that he was asked by the owners of a stolen €1m greyhound to track down and rescue the animal are being treated as "complete rubbish" by gardai.
Keane (55), a convicted drugs dealer and head of a criminal gang at the centre of a bloody family feud for years, was released from garda custody yesterday after he was caught with Clares Rocket on Tuesday night.
The dog was stolen from its trainer's kennels in Golden, Co Tipperary, on Sunday.
A €100,000 ransom was demanded from the Limerick Full House Syndicate by "a man with a mild Dublin accent" for the dog's safe return.
Keane told the Limerick Leader newspaper that he was asked by syndicate member Thomas O'Shea to "make a few phone calls and find out what the story is about the dog".
Keane claimed he tracked down those who took the greyhound and got it back after telling them who he was.
Informed sources said last night that investigating gardai were treating Keane's claims as "complete rubbish".
Four men, including Keane, were arrested. All were released yesterday, and a file on the case is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Keane said he told the dognappers that no ransom would be paid.
"They said they were going to kill the dog," he said.
"An hour after, they rang back again and I told him who I was. I told him who I was and that I'm from Limerick. I said, 'I swear I will track you down'. So they agreed to give me the dog.
"I said, 'We won't involve the guards or nobody, you give me the dog, throw him into my Jeep and I'll drive away'.
"Then we got another call to say where to go to get the dog. I picked up the dog in the back of a pub down outside Waterford."
Asked if he recognised the individuals, Keane said: "No, it was dark. I made them a promise I wouldn't call guards or no one. I kept that promise.
"I contacted Tom O'Shea and said, 'I have the dog - contact the guards and tell them I am on the way home with the dog and I will meet you in my house with Joe Cahill, the syndicate boss'."
Armed gardai swooped on Keane and another man as they made their way back to Limerick with Clares Rocket.
"I had to put my hands in the air and I was trying to tell them I have the dog. They tore me on to the ground and put guns to the back of my head," he said.
Keane, Mr O'Shea and Mr Cahill say they have no associations with those suspected of being involved in the theft.
Keane, who served eight years in jail after he was caught with €240,000 worth of cannabis, denied the dognapping had anything to do with drugs.
"No, this is purely for ransom," said Mr Cahill, speaking about the culprits.
"They were trying to say it was a drug thing went wrong. I've never dealt a drug in my life."
When asked if he had any connections to the drugs industry, Mr Cahill replied: "No-thing, nothing. You can ring the guards and ask them. It's only road traffic offences - that's it."
He said he makes a living by playing poker.
"I won the Sunday Millions online a couple of years ago," he said.