Money-laundering trial begins

The trial of an Louth resident accused of laundering money stolen from a Korean priest has begun in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The trial of an Louth resident accused of laundering money stolen from a Korean priest has begun in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Fr Man Sam Ham told gardaí he received a bogus Bank of Ireland email and phone call looking for his bank details a month before he reported €7,100 missing from his account on September 13, 2006.

Estonian national Olari Ott (aged 29) of Togher Cross, Togher, Drogheda has pleaded not guilty to stealing and laundering the money on dates between August 23 and 25, 2006.

Mr Ott told gardaí he gave fellow national Mr Toomas Perj’s bank details to an ex-housemate and work colleague when he was asked for the use of a bank account to deposit "work money", because he didn’t have his own account.

Garda Paul Kelly told prosecution counsel, Mr Garnet Orange BL, that the accused claimed his former work colleague "Derma" indicated the €7,100 was earnings from his construction job in Athlone.

He showed Mr Orange the Bank of Ireland letter issued to the priest confirming a €7,100 direct debit from his account to a Bray branch bank account.

Garda Kelly said Mr Ott told him that he and Mr Perj split the balance of the €7,100 from €5,400 cash he gave a "short, fat black man" at the Square Tallaght shortly after they withdrew the sum from Ranelagh Bank of Ireland branch.

Garda Kelly said the accused claimed he was originally promised €400 but settled for €200 when Mr Perj took €1,500 instead of the agreed €1,300.

Garda Kelly said Mr Ott told him "Derma" owed money for outstanding rent and gas bills when he moved out of their shared Tallaght house to work in Scandanavia that summer but that he rang him from a Belfast number asking to deposit "work money" in his bank account in August.

Garda Kelly said the accused added that "Derma" always had a different number each time he called.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCarten and a jury of seven men and five women.

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