John Gilligan facing ‘very real and immediate threat’ to his life, court told

Belfast High Court told he had no intention of fleeing because of ongoing litigation over ‘vast property portfolio’

A Dublin man accused of money laundering offences is facing a real and immediate threat to his life, the High Court in Belfast heard on Monday.

Lawyers for John Gilligan also insisted he has no intention of fleeing because of his ongoing involvement in litigation over a "vast property portfolio".

Further details emerged as the 66-year-old’s latest attempt to secure bail was adjourned.

Gilligan, with an address at Greenforth Crescent, Dublin, was arrested at Belfast International Airport on August 23rd as he was about to board a flight to Alicante.


The National Crime Agency (NCA) said officers recovered around €23,000 from his luggage.

He faces a charge of attempting to remove criminal property.

Prosecutors previously opposed his release by claiming he had "sold up" and was leaving Ireland behind for a new life in Spain.

All the cash in his suitcase was said to have come from family, friends and the sale of belongings.

One man had allegedly purchased a watch from him for €5,000, the court heard previously.

But Gilligan’s legal team insisted he only intended to rent a property in Spain for a limited period of time.

With bail refused last month due to concerns the accused could abscond, he returned to the High Court in a bid to establish a change of circumstances.

Opening the application, defence barrister Plunkett Nugent stressed the need to keep any subsequent living arrangements undisclosed.

“It’s common case there’s a very real and immediate threat to the defendant’s life,” he said.

Mr Plunkett argued that newly available documents show his client fully complied with bail terms in a separate case from the 1980s.

Counsel also contended: “The defendant is involved in very, very major legal proceedings in relation to a vast property portfolio in the neighbouring jurisdiction of the Republic of Ireland.

“Far from any notion of fleeing, he intends to pursue this to the nth degree.”

Questioning whether the necessary change of circumstances had been demonstrated, Lord Justice Deeny also cited the normal period of three months before fresh applications are mounted.

However, he decided to adjourn the legal bid so that the original judge can make a new determination on a later date.