High Court rules in favour of £120,000 Cab seizure
Judge accepts ‘candid’ evidence from ex-husband that cash came from his criminal activities
The Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) has secured orders freezing about STG £120,000 (€140,000) in a woman’s bank account in Wexford after a judge accepted “candid” evidence from her ex-husband the cash came from his criminal activities centred on theft of motor vehicles in Ireland and the UK.
The cash was lodged into the account of Melanie Mallon, nee Hackett, who entered into a divorce with her husband Frederick Mallon in 1999, under a settlement of family law proceedings, the High Court heard.
Mr Justice Kevin Feeney today ruled there was no evidence to show any injustice to Ms Mallon in Cab taking the money. If her separation and divorce was agreed on a false basis, that was a matter for herself and Mr Mallon, he said.
When Cab moved to seize the money, Mr Mallon, who has 46 previous convictions including for car theft and deception, admitted under caution the funds were the proceeds of his criminal activities, he said.
Mr Mallon - a native of Ireland who has lived in Wales for years - had denied claims by his ex-wife the monies came from legal activities including a plant hire business trading up to 1997 and had said that business was “a front” for his criminal activities, the judge added.
He accepted Mr Mallon’s account as “direct” and “true” evidence of the source of the monies and granted Gráinne O’Neill, for Cab, an order under the Proceeds of Crime Act restraining Ms Mallon dealing with the monies.
The cash is held in a Permanent TSB account in Wexford and the judge also appointed a Cab legal officer as receiver over it.
Given the money was lodged into the account as part of a settlement of family law proceedings, the judge said he would not order Ms Mallon, whom he noted was on legal aid, to pay Cab’s legal costs.
He also noted sums amounting to some STG£71,000 ( €82,950)lodged in another account in Wexford in the name of Ms Mallon some years previously had been withdrawn.
Earlier, the judge said the proceedings involved an “unusual” situation where the person alleged to have generated the assets had said the monies were placed in cash in an account in Ireland to avoid detection by the UK authorities
That evidence was “cogent and credible” and supported by documents and, in some instances, the lack of documents. It was also supported by belief evidence from a Cab authorised officer and evidence consistent with criminal dealings with cars obtained after Ms Mallon’s family home in Wales was searched several times by the police.
He did not accept conflicting accounts from Ms Mallon, who also has an address in Wales, as to the source of the funds.
While he accepted Ms Mallon had limited capacity to know the source of Mr Mallon’s funds after the couple divorced in 1999, she had advanced no rational explanation the funds came from an alterative source. There was no evidence she generated the money from any employment and he did not accept a claim it related to pension monies.
She had initially failed to diclose the existence of this account and claimed social welfare benefits in 2006 while still having “numerous foreign holidays”, he added.