Leitrim man, 54, accused of conning five men into transferring €1.765m into accounts he controlled

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A man has gone on trial charged with deceiving five men into transferring approximately €1.765m total into bank accounts he controlled.

A jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Simon Gold (54) represented himself as a highly qualified financier, merchant banker or financial consultant.

Mr Gold with an address of Augharan, Aughavas, Co. Leitrim, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 22 charges including money laundering, theft, deception and control of false instruments on dates between January 1, 2010 and October 22, 2012.

In his opening address to the jury, Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, said it was the prosecution's case that the accused had represented himself as Simon Gold, Simon Gould, Simon Magnier and Niall O'Donoghue.

He said that Mr Gold used a false ESB bill to open a bank account for an entity titled Anglo Irish Global Ltd.. He said this entity has no association with the “now defunct” Anglo Irish Bank Ltd which “grabbed the headlines” for some years.

Mr Staines said Mr Gold also admitted to operating the company Elite Bank Group and Irish Nationwide Bank.

Mr Staines said it was the prosecution's case that a very wealthy Danish businessman, who people might describe as “a high net worth individual,” met with a German lawyer and agreed to put €1.6m in two installments into an account they would both have access to with the promise of a return of 25% each month for 12 months.

Counsel said that “sadly the deal was too good to be true”. He said that €800,000 was transferred into the account of Anglo Irish Global Ltd controlled by Mr Gold and that €673,000 of this was transferred by Mr Gold into other accounts within days of it being lodged.

The account was frozen when a second installment of €800,000 was lodged.

Mr Staines told the jury that it was the prosecution's case that four Irish men were seeking loans of large sums of money. At the time due to the financial crisis banks were not lending large loans, he said.

He said the four men were deceived into transferring what they believed were down payments into bank accounts controlled by Mr Gold in order to secure the loans. None of the loans every came through for the four men.

Counsel said that a quarry business owner, a dairy farmer, and two men involved in the construction sector transferred an approximate total of €75,000 into various accounts.

He said that Mr Gold returned €10,000 to one man, claiming that it was out of his own pocket and that another man had run off with the entire sum of €30,000.

Mr Staines said that documentation submitted by the four men while seeking their loans was discovered on Mr Gold's computer during a search by gardaí of the accused's home.

He said that as it was the prosecution's case that Irish Nationwide Bank is not an actual bank and that what purported to be bank drafts from Irish Nationwide Bank which were found on the accused's computer were in fact false instruments.

Mr Staines said that the prosecution alleges that while purchasing a computer from Harvey Norman, Mr Gold used a false driving licence in the name of Niall O'Donoghue. He said the prosecution alleges Mr Gold dishonestly operated that computer with intention of making a gain.

The trial continues tomorrow before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.

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