Dutchman refused bail over passport

A Dutchman who was arrested in a luxury Dublin apartment during a Garda operation targeting the Kinahan organised crime gang has been refused bail on bogus passport charges.

Naoufal Fassih, aged 35, of Moroccan origin, was refused bail by Judge Cormac Dunne at Dublin District Court yesterday. The court heard he is looking for legal aid but gardaí have objected, saying he had €800 runners, and that three designer watches worth €83,000 in total were found at an apartment where he was arrested.

He is charged three offences under the Theft and Fraud Act for possessing a fake Belgian and a false Dutch passport and using them to incite another to believe they were real. He was arrested at an apartment on Lower Baggott St on April 7, the court heard.

He has also been charged with an offence under the Immigration Act and a minor drugs charge for simple possession of cannabis.

Garda Eoin Kane, of Kevin St station’s drugs unit told Judge Dunne he was objecting to bail being granted to the accused, who did not address the court. He said that the man was arrested during an operation targeting members of the Kinahan organised crime gang.

Gardaí later established his real name and that he is a Dutch national.

Judge Dunne noted gardaí objected to bail on the grounds that Mr Fassih is a “flight risk”. He would not agree to a request from Keith Spencer, defending, to adjourn ruling on bail. Counsel had said he needed a chance to canvas if an independent surety was available to stand bail for his client.

Refusing bail, Judge Dunne said that the accused presented to the court that his Dutch and Belgian passports were valid and lawful. However, the court was later told that the documents were false.

The court then heard that the defence were applying for free legal aid to be granted; however, gardaí have objected.

Garda Kane said that Mr Fassih is “a man of means”, adding that when he was arrested in the apartment also found there were: €300 and £12,825 in cash, a Rolex watch worth €8,350, another Rolex valued at €35,000, and an Audamars Piguet Royal Oak limited edition Michael Schumacher watch. Judge Dunne asked if that was the Rolls Royce of watches and Garda Kane replied that it was valued at €40,000.

He also furnished the court with certified valuations of the watches. He also told the court that “the runners he is wearing are over €800”.

Counsel for Mr Fassih said his client will say that the owner of the apartment is the owner of the watches. Judge Dunne deferred ruling on the legal aid issue.

Mr Fassih dressed in a Nike T-shirt, tracksuit bottoms, and white runners, was remanded in custody and will face his next hearing on April 22 at Cloverhill District Court.


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