Redmond told gardaí he 'regularly received money', court hears

George Redmond told gardaí he regularly received large sums of money from people representing development companies his corruption trial has been told.

The former Assistant Dublin County Manager told Criminal Assets Bureau officers he kept the payments secret from his wife, Maureen, a tax officer, and opened an offshore account in the Isle of Man in 1986 and did not file tax returns on the money he received from these sources and did not avail of any of the tax amnesties offered by the Revenue Commissioners.

Mr Redmond made his admissions in five statements in 1999 after he was arrested at Dublin Airport returning from the Isle of Man carrying £300,000 - made up of £200,000 in cash and around £100,000 in other forms.

The voluntary statements in which he told the CAB officers he received gifts of up to €25,000 from developers in return for planning advice were read out on day-11 of his trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court by prosecuting counsel, Ms Pauline Walley SC (with Mr Patrick McGrath BL).

Mr Redmond (aged 83) of College Gate, Castleknock has pleaded not guilty to two charges arising out of a compulsory purchase order on 167 acres of land at Buzzardstown and Coolmine, in north-west County Dublin.

Mr Redmond denies receiving £10,000 from the late Fianna Fáil councillor, Mr Patrick Dunne, on a date between October 10, 1985 and June 26, 1989 as an inducement in respect of the compulsory purchase order and to receiving the money as a reward for showing favour to another in relation to the same land.

He admitted in his statements he took £10,000 from Mr Dunne - who was Fianna Fáil whip on Dublin County Council - in relation to the lands at Buzzardstown but later retracted this at the Flood (now Mahon) Tribunal.

Mr Redmond said he regularly received money from Mr Paddy Tracey, who he described as a "bagman". He said he received payments from him of up to £15,000 but revised this in a later statement to "£5,000 to £10,000".

"He gave me money from builders. I kept it in my house. I certainly didn’t lodge it," Mr Redmond told gardaí. "He didn’t say what it was for but I took it."

He said Mr Tracey became a regular "gift-giver" especially during ‘builders holidays’. He said Mr Tracey sold him his house, giving him a "good price but asking for cash".

Mr Redmond said he was able to buy the house without taking out a loan but had to sell "a few things".

He also said Mr Tracey paid for several weekends away, including a trip to Ibiza. Mr Redmond described him as an "extraordinary gambler" who would go to the dogs every night and meet people.

Mr Redmond told gardaí he first met Mr Tracey when he was a draughtsman for the Council but that Mr Tracey kept in touch when he moved into the private sector.

He said Mr Tracey regularly represented Gallagher Developments but would also do work for other builders. Mr Redmond said he would always be told who the payments were coming from. He said the payments "all but died out" when there was a change of management at Gallagher Developments.

Mr Redmond said he also received cash payments from his "firm friend" Mr Tom Brennan in return for business advice. He said he would receive "30-40" payments a year of around £200 each when Mr Brennan had cash from the sale of livestock.

Mr Redmond admitted he received cash from Mr James Gogarty in return for advising him if the Council were interested in land he was thinking of buying.

He said he made notes on the land and told Mr Gogarty it had no development potential. He said he also received £25,000 from Mr Gogarty in return for facilitating the sale of land to Mr Michael Bailey.

He said he got a £5,000 cheque "out of the blue" from businessman Mr Brendan Fassnidge. He said he believed it was related to a purchase of land by the Council which blocked the entrance to Mr Fassnidge’s filling station.

He said he received £10,000 in 1986/87 from Mr Tom Roche in return for advice on land he had bought in Mulhuddart.

Mr Redmond said he kept these payments a secret from his wife Maureen, a tax officer. He said he opened an offshore account in the Isle of Man in 1986, made up mainly of payments from developers and his wages from the Council.

He said he did not file tax returns on money he received other than his wages and said he didn’t avail of any of the tax amnesties offered by the Revenue Commissioners. Mr Redmond said in his statements that he would "meet all sorts of people" when he played in the Garda Badminton Club.

He said people would ask him advice and sometimes give him gifts in return. He said one of the first gifts he received was a wholesale card and a rocking horse from a business man he advised.

He said on other occasions he would receive cakes or boxes of chocolates and once got a trade-in for a new car.

Detective Superintendent Pat Byrne told Ms Walley that Mr Redmond came into CAB offices five times after his arrest and made the statements.

Det Supt Byrne said he interviewed him six times immediately after his arrest on February 19, 1999 during which Mr Redmond said the money he was carrying came from "nixers".

He told gardaí: "I did a lot of consultancy work, moonlight sessions out of hours."

When asked why he had the £300,000 after he returned from the Isle of Man, he said he kept it in a deposit account and had let the money build up.

"I live a very abstemious life," he said. "I never spend more than £20 a week."

Det Sup Byrne said the accused claimed he was doing a "deal" with his legal counsel representing him in the Flood Tribunal where he would pay cash to get a discount.

"That money took 25 years to accumulate and three weeks of legal representation. They never said a word and I get a bill for £105,000. I’m not stupid. I’m going to get a bill from the Revenue," he said.

When asked why it was a joint bank account and why four of the cheques he was carrying had his son’s name on them he replied: "I’m the one who was obliged to make a return of income and I didn’t. This has absolutely nothing to do with my wife and son."

Det Sup Byrne said that during one interview Mr Redmond initially claimed the account was located in the Isle of Man because of favourable interest rates but later admitted it was due to its tax haven status.

When asked by a detective where he came from he said he grew up in "dreadful poverty in the North Inner City" and it was a fear of a return to this poverty that made him "a miser".

The hearing continues before Judge Joseph Matthews and the jury of three women and eight men.

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