A JOINT Garda/Interpol hunt is under way for a former AIB investment manager from Cork who is wanted in relation to the disappearance of over €2 million in clients’ funds and who it is believed may be living in Spain under an assumed identity.
Kieran Ashcroft, who is in his late 40s and who was living in Courtmacsherry, Co Cork, worked at the AIB in Mallow and was dismissed by the bank following an internal investigation in 2002.
Following a subsequent inquiry, the Garda Fraud Squad identified 15 people from Cork city and county who had given various sums of money to Mr Ashcroft — amounting to a total of over €2m — and that the money was never invested on their behalf.
On foot of this investigation the Director of Public Prosecutions directed that a book of evidence be served on Ashcroft in relation to the complaints.
A Garda source confirmed yesterday that investigating officers have been unable to locate Mr Ashcroft.
“It is not believed that he is in the country. Enquiries have been carried out in Spain without success.
“Gardaí in co-operation with Interpol are actively looking for Mr Ashcroft,” the source said.
Some of the complainants met Ashcroft through AIB in Mallow where he was an investment manager.
It is understood that some of those with whom he dealt believed that he was in the process of setting up his own financial institution.
Kieran Ashcroft’s name emerged on Tuesday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in the trial of a bank porter — who was acquitted yesterday — on charges of money-laundering by cashing over €100,000 in cheques for Ashcroft.
In that trial, defence senior counsel, Tim O’Leary, made a number of comments about Kieran Ashcroft, whom he described as “a big shot”.
Referring to Mr Ashcroft during the cross-examination of one witness Mr O’Leary said: “He was a very impressive character, he could charm the birds off the trees… he was very persuasive.”
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