Court reserves judgment in CAB action over cars seized from Limerick car dealership

CAB claims the dealership was used by persons involved in criminality to launder significant amounts of money generated from the illegal drugs trade, and was involved in other criminal activity, including VAT fraud
Court reserves judgment in CAB action over cars seized from Limerick car dealership

CAB is seeking orders under Section 3 of the 1996 Proceeds of Crime Act in respect of €820,000 generated from the sale of vehicles the bureau seized from Stephen Bawn Motors Ltd, Old Ballysimon Road, Limerick, in March 2019.

The High Court has reserved its decision in application by the Criminal Assets Bureau to deem 111 cars and €20,000 seized from a Limerick car dealership as being the proceeds of crime.

CAB is seeking orders under Section 3 of the 1996 Proceeds of Crime Act in respect of €820,000 generated from the sale of vehicles the bureau seized from Stephen Bawn Motors Ltd, trading as Bawn Motors, Old Ballysimon Road, Limerick, in March 2019.

CAB claims the dealership was used by persons involved in criminality to launder significant amounts of money generated from the illegal drugs trade, and was involved in other criminal activity, including VAT fraud.

The proceeds of the sales have remained frozen pending the outcome of CAB's application to the court.

Stephen Bawn Motors Ltd and Mr Mike Nash, with an address in Newcastle, Co Limerick, who claims to have an interest in more than 50 of the cars, have opposed the application and deny the claims.

Represented by Paul Comiskey O'Keeffe BL, the respondents reject all of CAB claims, including that Mr Nash was in charge of the business.

In relation to Mr Nash, counsel said there was a car pooling arrangement in place with him and others associated with the business and there would be an injustice if orders were made against him.

Counsel said the company had traded legitimately, and there was no evidence to support CAB's claims it had been used to launder money.

No sane criminal would use the scheme as alleged by CAB to launder cash, it was also submitted.

Counsel also argued no criminal prosecution has taken place in relation to the allegations the company was involved in any VAT fraud.

In her submissions to the court, Grainne O'Neill Bl, for CAB, said the court could be satisfied from the evidence put before it about the business to grant the orders sought on behalf of the bureau.

Many of the explanations given by the respondents in relation to CAB's claims did not make sense and the only conclusion the court should make is that the company was run with funds that come from the proceeds of crime.

Following the conclusion of submissions on Friday afternoon, the third day of the hearing, Mr Justice Alexander Owens said he was reserving his decision.

The case, the judge said, was complicated and the court would give its judgement after all of the issues raised have been fully considered.

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