Child porn ‘facilitator’ to try for bail again

The 28-year-old Irishman described by the FBI as “the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet” is to make a new application for bail on Sep 11.

US authorities are seeking the extradition of Eric Eoin Marques, alleged to be involved in the mass distribution of online child pornography. He has been in custody on foot of a warrant issued by a US court.

High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns was told yesterday that the US had made a full formal request to the Irish Government for Marques’s surrender.

Patrick McGrath, for the Attorney General, said a diplomatic note signed by the US attorney general Eric Holder, seeking Marques’s extradition had been received by the Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday last, Aug 12.

He said the official request, which outlines four amended charges against Marques, had then been certified by the justice minister. The warrant was filed by the FBI on Aug 8.

Marques is facing charges of conspiring to advertise child pornography and aiding and abetting the advertising of child pornography. The court heard that each of these two charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment.

He is further charged with conspiring to distribute child pornography, and aiding and abetting the distribution of child pornography. If convicted on these charges he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.

The offences are alleged to have been committed on dates between Jul 2008 and Jul 29, 2013, in the US, Ireland, and elsewhere.

Mr Justice Kearns, accepting the extradition request, remanded Marques in continuing custody until Sept 11, when he will appear before Mr Justice John Edwards.

Remy Farrell, for Marques, told the court that when the matter returns before the court his client intended to make a fresh application for bail as the circumstances of his detention had now changed.

Mr Farrell said the FBI special agent who gave evidence at Marques’s initial bail hearing may be required to give evidence during the proposed Sept 11 hearing. The State is expected to again oppose bail.

The court previously heard that Marques, who has Irish and US citizenship, was arrested on a provisional warrant that records charges of distributing and promoting child pornography on the internet.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan refused to grant bail to Marques, who has an address at Mountjoy Square, Dublin, until the extradition request has been determined by the court. Judge Gilligan said he accepted evidence Marques represented “a flight risk”.

The court heard the investigation related to hundreds of websites that have thousands of users and contain millions of images of child pornography. The charges were brought after a year-long investigation involving both the FBI and the Garda.

He was arrested in Dublin on Aug 1. Investigating gardaí and the FBI objected to bail on grounds Marques represented a flight risk.

The earlier court hearing was told large sums of money had passed through bank accounts in Marques’s name both in Ireland and Romania.

It had also been stated to the court that a search of Marques’s computer revealed he had made inquires about how to get a visa and entry into Russia.

He had no previous convictions nor had he ever come to the attention of the authorities before.

He said he had searched online about Russian visas out of curiosity due to the issues surrounding Edward Snowden.

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