A Wexford man applied today for the Criminal Assets Bureau to be directed to return to him a Toyota Landcruiser that was seized from a property in Cork in April last year as part of a money-laundering investigation.
Judge Olann Kelleher said that it fairness to the applicant, Christopher Moorehouse, a painter decorator from Esmonde Road, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, he had no criminal convictions of any kind.
However, the judge refused his application to have the Landcruiser returned to him on the basis that it was part of an ongoing Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) investigation into other parties who were subject to the seizure of expensive cars and other property.
Judge Kelleher said of the applicant, Christopher Moorehouse, “He has no previous convictions — I say that in fairness to him… I am not satisfied he has proved the car belongs to him. I refuse the application.”
Mr Moorehouse told his counsel, David Fleming, instructed by Donal Daly, solicitor, that he had evidence of buying the Landcruiser for €34,750 and a trade-in and that his name and a Dublin address appeared on the logbook.
He said that he met a man at a wedding in April 2019 whom he knew from horse fairs over the years and they agreed to swap vehicles — the Landcruiser for an Audi Q7 — for a week to see if they would be happy to trade. Mr Moorehouse said the Landcruiser, which he said he still owned, was seized from the other man’s yard. And he said this other party also arranged to have the Audi Q7 picked up from his yard in Wexford.
Cross-examining them applicant, state solicitor Frank Nyhan, said the address that was under Christopher Moorepark’s name on the logbook — 5 Burton Park — “does not exist”.
Mr Nyhan said that during the time when the applicant had the Audi he was trying to sell it to a garage — “You are trying to sell a car (the Audi) you don’t own.”
Mr Nyhan added, “This application is a complete sham, you don’t own that Landcruiser.”
Mr Moorehouse said he was just talking to the garage about the Audi but he did own the Landcruiser.
Detective Garda Sandra Cullen of Cab said the Cork family and extended family that were still under investigation were “using high-value goods to launder money from criminal activities”.
“I don’t believe he (Christopher Moorehouse) owns the Landcruiser. It may be registered in his name. Vehicles are registered in different names in false addresses to launder the proceeds of criminal activities of (the Cork-based gang).”
Mr Fleming said it was the applicant’s work vehicle and he had been left without it since last April.