Six people seek legal aid to oppose claims assets seized are proceeds of crime

The High Court has been asked to approve legal aid to six individuals who want to oppose claims by CAB that certain assets seized by the Bureau as part of its investigation into the Kinahan crime cartel are the proceeds of crime.

CAB had previously secured Court orders freezing assets including jewellery, motorbikes, property and cars which it seized following raids at various locations in March 2016.

CAB's proceedings are against several parties including Liam Byrne, who the Bureau says is a member of the Kinahan gang, and several of his associates.

Byrne's brother David was shot dead in the Regency Hotel in February 2016.

Today lawyers representing six individuals who have made claims in respect of certain of the assets applied to Ms Justice Carmel Stewart to have the costs of being represented by solicitors and barristers in the proceedings covered under the legal aid scheme.

The applications made on behalf of Kelly Quinn, Sean McGovern, Anita Freeman, James Byrne, Sadie Byrne, and Liam Roe, were opposed by CAB.

The applicants say they cannot afford to pay lawyers to represent them in what will be a lengthy and complex case.

In her sworn statement Ms Quinn, an unemployed mother of two and the partner of the late David Byrne, has made claim that a sum of almost €8,000 seized by the Gardai following a search of her home at Kildare Road Crumlin should be returned to her.

She says the money came from "a whip around" from friends following her partner's death and are not the proceeds of crime. She says she lives in rental accommodation and her only asset is her car.

The late Mr Byrne's parents Sadie and James Byrne of Raleigh Square, Crumlin are also seeking legal aid. Mr Byrne says in his affidavit that his only income is his old age pension, claims a Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch worth €35,000 seized by the Gardai from his home is not the proceeds of crime.

His wife Sadie, who is also in receipt of the OAP of €227 per week has made a claim in respect of an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch that belonged to her late son worth an estimated €12,500 and a Lexus Jeep worth €22,500, which was registered in the name of a company, is her property.

Mr Liam Roe an unemployed man of Mangerton Road, Drimnagh is seeking legal aid in respect of an Audi A5 car and a Kawasaki motorbike worth a total of €38,000 seized by CAB. In a sworn statement to the court, Mr Roe denied that he is a member of any organised crime gang.

He says he is not in receipt of any income or any social welfare, has no assets other than ones that were seized, and receives funding from his father.

Couple Sean McGovern and Anita Freeman also seek legal aid. He wishes to contest CAB claims what is their "de facto family home at Kildare Road, Crumlin is the proceeds of crime. Ms Freeman is making a claim in respect of a BMW car, worth €23,000 seized by CAB.

Mr McGovern says he no other assets aside from the property and that the couple and their two young children are living off allowances benefits from the state plus a redundancy payment his partner received in 2016.

Opposing the applications CAB said in sworn statements read to the court that its investigations revealed that Mr Roe travelled to the US, UK and Spain on six occasions between July 2015 and July 2016.

He also attended the Conor McGregor Chad Mendes fight in Los Vegas in July 2015. Neither the fight nor flight tickets were paid through any known account in the name of Mr Roe.

CAB also claim there were other examples of when it had been shown Mr Roe had access to large amounts of money. CAB says Mr Roe is unwilling to talk about money or how he funds his day to day living expenses.

He has claimed to CAB he goes to the UK to buy cars which he sells here and received a compensation of IR£330,000 arising out of a road traffic accident.

In respect of Mr McGovern and Ms Freeman the Bureau said they are living a lifestyle far beyond what could have been their known income.

Mr McGovern, CAB said, took 16 flights in 2016 to locations including Malaga, Amsterdam, Birmingham and Dubai. Ms Freeman had taken eight flights in 2016, and in recent days had flown to Manchester before travelling on to Dubai, CAB said in a sworn statement.

In addition, CAB allege the property was purchased by a Mauritian Trust Fund for €150,000 and renovated at a cost of

€247,000.

Ms Quinn, CAB said has taken seven flights out of Dublin to the UK. While the final destination was unknown the destinations are believed to include Spain and Los Vegas.

Opposing the applications made on behalf of James and Sadie Byrne CAB said in sworn statements that Mr Byrne who sold a property in Dublin in 2015 for €80,000. The couple had also sold a site for €100,000 in 2006.

Mr Byrne had also settled a claim made against him by CAB in 2004 when he paid over €200,000 in respect of a tax assessment, CAB said.

In addition, Sadie Byrne failed to supply any documents that support her claim in respect of the Lexus Jeep, CAB says. The Byrnes strongly contest claims made against by CAB in regards to the property sales in a sworn statement.

Following the conclusion of submissions from counsel for the parties the judge said she was reserving her decision and would give judgment later this month.


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