Veteran criminal Martin 'The Viper' Foley has spoken of his fury after his wedding ring was seized by Revenue officials during a dawn raid on his home yesterday.
He said in an interview with the Herald that his heavily-pregnant wife Sonia Doyle was left "very stressed out" and needed medical attention because she believed the couple's Jack Russell would also be seized.
Foley also said he is going to sue the State for "damages and stress" in relation to what happened at his home in Cashel Avenue, Crumlin.
Foley added that he and his wife were not asleep when the raid happened at his home at 7.53am yesterday.
"She is seven months pregnant and it was very stressful for her," he said.
"Of course she's not impressed that they took my wedding ring, but she was relieved that they didn't take the Jack Russell dog.
"I plan to get all the items back - I'm very unhappy about my treatment here.
"There are two sides to this and I want to give you my side," Foley told the Herald.
"I was given a verbal agreement, a gentleman's agreement, that my outstanding tax bill was balanced out by money that I'm owed by the State. The two things cancelled each other out."
Revenue and Sheriff's Office officials received armed support from members of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) during the raid, which was over an unpaid tax bill of almost €1m.
As well as the wedding ring that Foley was given when he married his long-term partner in the Canary Islands last November, a number of other items were seized.
These included two of Foley's watches, two motorbikes, his Audi car and €570 in cash which he claims was money he collected this week for a client of his debt-collecting business.
There could be more bad news for the 63-year-old because the CAB has issued a judgment against Foley's Crumlin home, meaning they plan to seize it from him if he does not satisfy his outstanding tax bill which is for just over €940,000.
The judgment was registered by the Land Registry last July 22, having been obtained by CAB in the High Court on May 23.
Foley, who has dozens of convictions to his name, was a key member of the gang led by murdered mobster Martin 'The General' Cahill and has survived four assassination attempts.
Last night, he claimed he had been led to believe for more than a decade that the State would not be pursuing him over the unpaid taxes.
He said the issue dates from February 1996 when Charlie Bowden, the criminal who became a controversial state supergrass in the Veronica Guerin murder trials, was involved in an attempt to murder him.
Bowden later admitted his role in the gun attack on Foley when he appeared before the Special Criminal Court, saying he had provided the weapon that was used.
Foley sued Bowden in the High Court in November 2000 and was awarded £120,000.
"By this stage Charlie Bowden had left the country because he was in the Witness Protection Programme in the care of the State," Foley told the Herald.
"So when they didn't charge him with the attempted murder of me and let him leave the country, they were liable for that judgment. It was the State who had to pay me.
"About nine or 10 weeks later, two detectives came knocking on my door and handed me a CAB bill for £170,000.
"After this, I handed over around £40,000 and we decided to appeal to the Revenue Commissioners about the rest of the money.
"Because I was owed the money from the Bowden case by the State, everything was left sitting - the two things had kind of cancelled each other out.
"I was told if I didn't pursue the Charlie Bowden money, they wouldn't pursue me for the tax.
"It was a verbal agreement, nothing was written down and it stood for 12 years.
"This was just left there for more than 12 years with no correspondence until earlier this year when around €800,000 had been added on to the original amount in penalties and interests.
"This was the first I had heard about it and then they went to the High Court and got a judgment against me.
"But my legal team have appealed this to the Supreme Court, so that raid should not have happened as I am contesting this in court.
"As far as I'm concerned, what happened was an illegal operation and I am going to seek compensation for the damages and stress that this has caused me."