Fraudster Peter Conlon tells court of ‘transformative meditation’

Former Pembroke Dynamic boss released from Swiss prison last December

An affidavit from Mr Conlon was sworn in a notary’s office in Beaulieu- sur-Mer on the French Riviera on April 1st. Photograph: iStock

An affidavit from Mr Conlon was sworn in a notary’s office in Beaulieu- sur-Mer on the French Riviera on April 1st. Photograph: iStock

 

Convicted fraudster Peter Conlon is practising “transformative meditation”, Kriya yoga and doing 25,000 steps a day after spending a year in a Swiss prison, the High Court heard.

Mr Conlon, the former boss of a collapsed charities fundraising service, said he did not have the money to pay for treatment for mental and physical problems he experienced since leaving jail just before Christmas but was undertaking physical exercise and meditation.

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds was told on Tuesday that a liquidator appointed over the collapsed Pembroke Dynamic fundraising platform business founded by Mr Conlon wants more information from him.

An affidavit from Mr Conlon, which referred to health and other matters and was sent by email to the court, was sworn in a notary’s office in Beaulieu- sur-Mer on the French Riviera on April 1st.

In that, he said he was an “entrepreneur of no fixed abode” and gave a Stanford University alumni address for correspondence.

Myles Kirby, the liquidator of Pembroke who wants to find out what happened to some €3.8 million allegedly misappropriated by the Dublin firm, said Mr Conlon had not identified where he was exactly.

Mr Kirby said Mr Conlon had offered to meet him, but only in the south of France. Mr Kirby wants the meeting to take place in Dublin.

Mr Conlon (64), whose family home is in Ballsbridge, Dublin, was jailed in Switzerland last November after pleading guilty to embezzlement there to using almost €4 million – intended for charities – to fund his technology company.

He was jailed for four years, with three suspended and, because he had already spent a year in prison before the trial, was released on December 22nd.

The Leitrim-born man claims he confessed to the Swiss authorities only after being held in 23-hour lock-up for nearly a year.

Severe mental pressure

He said he was put under severe mental pressure to confess “which I eventually did when it became apparent to me my pre-trial detention in solitary was consistently being extended with this in mind”.

He claimed, as a result of the denial of his human rights and “prosecutorial misconduct” by the Swiss, a report was being prepared for submission to the Irish Government and the European Commissioner for Human Rights.

In the meantime, the liquidator has repeatedly been in the High Court seeking to get Mr Conlon to co-operate with his investigation.

Mr Kirby said Mr Conlon had been looking for court papers and they had been made available, but he had not collected them.

Mr Kirby wants him to swear a more substantial affidavit to address matters raised in the liquidator’s case.

While at home in January, Mr Conlon attended his family doctor in Ballsbridge who wrote a letter on his behalf saying he had hypertension, dyslipidaemia and, because of his time in jail, was suffering “low mood symptoms suggestive of post traumatic stress disorder”.

The doctor believed he was unfit for work or “to attend to matters requiring intensive concentration”. Mr Conlon said, despite being prescribed drugs for his conditions and counselling, he did not have the financial resources to access them but was engaging in yoga and physical activities.

On Wednesday, when the liquidator’s case was back before the court, Gerard Meehan BL, for Mr Kirby, said his client did not accept Mr Conlon’s request for a further adjournment because of his lack of resources and state of health.

‘Hide and seek’

Mr Meehan, who previously said Mr Conlon was “playing hide and seek” with the court, argued on Wednesday that if he was well enough to make a case to the EU commissioner about his human rights, he could also swear a more substantial affidavit.

Mr Conlon was “very careful” not to say where he was, he said. Counsel said the liquidator was prepared to set up a “drop box” arrangement whereby Mr Conlon could pick up the court documents.

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds said if that was done, he could have no further complaint about not having received papers. She adjourned the matter for nine weeks.