The Criminal Assets Bureau has taken possession of a luxury house in Killarney in the final stage of a five-year investigation into the activities of an organised crime gang.
The investigation, dubbed Operation Tarmac, began after a lavish lifestyle — cars and jewellery, and substantial assets — gathered by a small number of local families without any apparent legitimate basis, aroused suspicions.
In November 2017, after extensive profiling and investigations, assets including luxury cars, a house, high-end watches, and cash were seized by CAB and local gardaí in one of the biggest such operations ever in the county.
At the time, 130 gardaí were involved in raids of several houses.
The inquiry focused on what local profilers and gardaí suspected were bogus home improvement operations.
The bogus home repairs were being conducted nationally but also in Europe and the gang was headquartered in Killarney.
The detached property at Upper Ballycasheen is fitted with expensive wrought iron security gates and is finished internally with high-end marble.
No expense was spared on the house’s luxury bathing facilities, with step-up bath and mosaic tile work in at least one bathroom.
Other items granted to CAB were nine high-end cars, including a Mercedes, 12 watches including Cartier and Rolex, and the contents of four bank and credit union accounts totalling almost €178,000.
Cash of over €126,000 and a Louis Vuitton bag are among the other assets granted to the Criminal Assets Bureau after an order under the Proceeds of Crime Act in the High Court earlier this week.
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, 1996-2016, CAB can freeze and seize assets which it can show to the High Court are the proceeds of criminal conduct.
This is done on the civil standard of proof which is known internationally as non-conviction-based forfeiture.
Superintendent Flor Murphy of Killarney Gardai said Thursday’s action was “the finalisation of an extensive investigation conducted by Killarney Garda and CAB".
“It shows An Garda Síochána are not going to allow people enjoy assets derived from criminal activity,” Supt Murphy said.
It is expected the house will be auctioned publically. However local auctioneers who did not wish to be named, said while the house was finished to a very high degree, the location was not ideal and they did not expect the property to fetch record prices.