Woman bailed in trafficking case

Thu, Sep 27, 2012, 01:00

A Nigerian woman, wanted in France in connection with an investigation into the trafficking of young women for prostitution, has been awarded €25,000 bail in the High Court.

Ms Justice Maureen Clarke also froze two bank accounts believed to contain up to €30,000 in the name of the woman, 36-year-old Trust Egharevba, a mother of three from Nigeria who was recently granted Irish citizenship.

Judge Clarke said Ms Egharevba was the subject of a European Arrest Warrant connected with an investigation into one of the most serious offences which had become the scourge of Europe.

She had been told that Ms Egharevba, whose husband is a bus driver in Ireland, had five bank accounts containing between €25,000 and €30,000, one in Tralee with a balance of €3,000 which she used for day-to-day living expenses and into which her child allowances were paid.

The judge said Ms Egharevba, of Castlecurragh Park, Mulhuddart, Dublin, would have to report to Blanchardstown Garda Station three times a week, undertake not to leave the country or seek a new passport or travel documentation.

Det Garda Sgt Martin O’Neill had told the court that French police were seeking Ms Egharevba’s extradition as part of their investigation into the activities of a criminal organisation involved in international money laundering and human trafficking.

She denies any involvement in any of the matters at the centre of the investigation.

In the warrant seeking her surrender the French authorities said they had launched a criminal investigation into complaints that a number of young Nigerian women had been trafficked into France via Italy.

On arrival into France, they were forced into prostitution. Their travel arrangements, it was claimed, involved a number of female intermediaries known as “mamas”.

It is alleged that between April 2008 and March 2011 money procured from the trafficked women had been laundered from France via Ms Egharevba’s bank accounts in Ireland to Nigeria.

Barrister Proinsias Ó Maolchaláin, who appeared with solicitor Con Pendred for Ms Egharevba today, told the court his client, while wanted by the French authorities, had not been charged with any offence.

Fiona Murphy, counsel for the State, told Judge Clarke that since Ms Egharevba’s earlier court appearance, at which three bank accounts had been divulged, the gardai had discovered two other bank accounts, one attached to a credit card that was in credit by €4,000.