Denis O’Brien provides gardaí with extensive details of GAA star’s alleged fraud

Businessman provided man with large sums of cash and use of properties

Denis O’Brien has provided gardaí with extensive information on a former GAA star under investigation for widespread fraud.

The sportsman made a number of approaches to the businessman who agreed to help him.

He allegedly requested large amounts of cash in the form of payments and loans from the billionaire, claiming he needed it to fund his cancer treatment. As well as handing over large sums of cash, Mr O’Brien also agreed to let the man use some of his properties, The Irish Times understands.

It is understood the businessman was eager to help the man and did not seek proof of his illness or the treatment costs.


Details of the businessman’s involvement in the matter were first reported by the Sunday Independent.

Mr O’Brien is assisting the Garda with the investigation and has spoken with detectives from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) about his dealings with the sports star. He has provided them with extensive information, including details of the financial transactions and his contacts with the man.

A spokesman for Mr O’Brien said on Sunday he had no comment to make on the matter.

The billionaire is one of many people allegedly approached by the sports star. Several of these have already made Garda statements.

Detectives are understood to be eager to speak to the sportsman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and are waiting for an appropriate opportunity. No arrests have been made to date.

The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau is investigating whether the retired player deceived friends and business acquaintances into lending him money for medical and other bills.

Detectives are examining whether or not he falsely claimed that he had cancer when he approached people looking for money. The prominent former player is understood to have agreed loan arrangements with those from whom he took the money.

The sums involved range from a few thousand euro to more than €100,000. The sums he received from Mr O’Brien are believed to amount to tens of thousands of euro.

Efforts to contact the former GAA star for comment have proven unsuccessful. He has not responded to queries by email concerning his financial dealings.

It was known within his local community that the former star regularly claimed to own land overseas and that he was about to sell it netting him a financial windfall.

In more recent years, he told people who loaned him money that he was due to receive an insurance payout on a medical negligence claim.

According to one GAA official, the sportsman was seeking money for treatment as far back as a decade ago.

The one-time official, from the GAA’s Asian branch, approached the sports star in 2013 with a view to inviting him to be a guest at the annual GAA finals in Asia in Malaysia that year.

The invite was made in person to the retired player on the fringes of the 2013 All Ireland Football final at Croke Park, during a meeting with another former GAA star.

Towards the end of discussions, the retired athlete requested an appearance fee of €10,000. This was rejected and the sports star was told that only travel and other expenses would be paid.

The former player then said that he had a serious cancer condition, which could only be treated in the US and that the money would be going toward his treatment.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times