A son and his blind father, both involved in a waste disposal business, had failed to properly account for the source of tens of thousands of euro in their bank accounts during investigations into whether certain monies had been the proceeds of crime, the Court of Appeal said.
Michael Murphy Jr and his father Michael, from 36, Riverview Estate, Tower, Blarney in Co Cork, failed in an appeal against a High Court decision freezing certain cash and two investment bonds worth €30,000 which a judge was satisfied represented the proceeds of crime.
Michael Jr, who has 43 previous convictions, including one for which he was sentenced to six years for possession of firearms, was alleged by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) to be involved in drug-dealing, and with a Limerick crime gang.
Michael Sr, who lost his sight in an accident in 1983, has 21 previous convictions. CAB said he has a shared involvement in crime with his son.
Michael Jr claimed his money came from his waste business and from the sale of motorcycles, cars and lawnmowers as well as from a compensation claim.
Michael Sr claimed the money for a €20,000 Irish Life investment bond in his name came from his late mother. He also “begged on the streets of Tralee, Killarney, and Lismore to try and raise money for an eye operation”.
The case arose after Michael Jr was stopped by gardaí in May 2009 driving an Audi car with six firearms in the boot. He received the six-year jail sentence.
In a follow-up search of Michael Jr’s girlfriend’s home at Clonard Avenue, Grenagh, Co Cork, gardaí found cash of £6,625 and €9,000 in cash in a bedroom. Further investigations uncovered Michael Sr’s €20,000 investment bond and another for €10,000 in Michael Jr’s name.
In November 2014, Mr Justice George Birmingham, in the High Court, granted CAB orders freezing part of the cash and the bonds, saying he was satisfied they represented the proceeds of crime.
A CAB financial crime analyst who conducted a lifestyle analysis of Michael Jr for the years 2000 to 2009 found he had total legitimate earnings of around €77,000, although there was more than €210,000 available to him. His Murphy Waste Recycling business made just one income tax return in 2007 showing a loss of €6,188.
The judge said the pair, in particular the son, provided sometimes multiple explanations for various lodgments to accounts.
One explanation from Michael Sr, which the judge had particular difficulty with, was that he and his son place a €500 bet in October 2005 that Watford would be relegated from the English Premiership. Michael Sr said they kept €11,000 winnings in a cash box at home.
An appeal against the findings was lodged by Michael Jr on a number of grounds, including the judge erred in ruling his (Michael’s Jr’s) investment bond was bought with the proceeds of crime.
Mr Justice Michael Peart, on behalf of a three-judge Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed the appeal. He said a good deal of the lodgments to both men’s accounts “cannot be accounted for by known sources of legitimate income”.
In Michael Jr’s case, experts had analysed there was €158,000 from “unknown sources” between 1998 and 2009, including the six years he was in jail.
In Michael Sr’s case, a similar analysis found €212,000 was lodged between 1985 and 2009 and all but €100,000 of that was from unknown sources, he said.
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