Senior Kinahan cartel member, wife and mistress laundered €1.3m in cash, court told

Money used to pay for wedding at Druids Glen and Spanish holiday property as well as other gang members

‘Mr Nobody’ Declan Brady was remanded in custody until July 30th, when he will be sentenced.

‘Mr Nobody’ Declan Brady was remanded in custody until July 30th, when he will be sentenced.

 

Senior Kinahan cartel member Declan Brady, his wife and his mistress laundered approximately €1.3m in crime cash through transfers that included mortgage payments on a Spanish holiday property, a wedding at Druid’s Glen and transfers to other gang members, the Special Criminal Court heard on Monday.

The court heard that a bar tab and room bills for €27,000 from the wedding were paid for in cash, while both Brady and his wife declared no income to the Revenue over the period in question.

The non-jury court heard during Monday’s sentence hearing that Brady (55), who is known as “Mr Nobody”, had laundered €418,654 in crime cash through multiple bank accounts, his wife Deirdre Brady (53) had laundered €770,499 and another woman Erika Lukacs (37), who was described today as Brady’s “mistress”, had laundered €196,864.

Deirdre Brady, the mother of Declan Brady’s three adult children, transferred over €140,000 in organised crime cash to the Spanish bank account of Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh over a five-year period, the court heard.

She also paid another €3,000 a month to her husband’s Spanish mortgage account on a property in Cala D’Or in Majorca, totalling over €138,000 between 2014 and 2016. The property has since been repossessed by the bank in Spain.

The three-judge court was also told that Declan and Deirdre Brady also paid €66,301 to the Druids Glen Hotel in Co Wicklow for the wedding of a family member, €27,265 of which was paid in cash for bar and room bills.

Counsel for Mrs Brady, Michael Bowman SC, said his client was “acting blind” and “in complete ignorance” when she paid the rent on a property, which her husband had shared with his “mistress”.

Deirdre Brady, of The Bailey, Castlefarm, Naas, Co Kildare pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice on Monday. Photograph: Collins Courts
Deirdre Brady, of The Bailey, Castlefarm, Naas, Co Kildare pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice on Monday. Photograph: Collins Courts

Lawyers for Declan Brady, who pleaded guilty last April at the Special Criminal Court to hiding over a quarter of a million euro in crime cash in the attic of a Kildare address, said that their client had taken responsibility for his own actions and expressed “profound regret” that but for him taking possession of the money, his two co-accused would not find themselves before the court.

‘Sinister forces’

Brady, the court heard, was taking orders from “more sinister forces based abroad”, which could not be lightly disregarded.

The Special Criminal Court also heard today that all three accused have since paid money to the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

Brady is already serving a 11.5-year jail term imposed by the same court in July 2019, after he admitted supervising a firearms arsenal including an assault rifle and thousands of rounds of ammunition that had been stashed in a Dublin business park.

On April 23rd last, Brady with an address at The Park, Wolstan Abbey, Celbridge, Co Kildare pleaded guilty to concealing cash to the value of €268,940 in the attic of The Dairy, Rathasker Road, Naas, Co Kildare, on January 24th 2017.

He had been charged in February with a total of 16 non-scheduled offences within the State between January 1st 2012 and January 24th 2017, inclusive. All the charges come under Section 7 of Criminal Justice Act 2010 and relate to money laundering and terrorist financing within the State.

On April 13th, Deirdre Brady of The Bailey, Castlefarm, Naas, Co Kildare, and Lukacs, with an address at Lakelands, Naas, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty at the Special Criminal Court to two crime cash laundering offences.

Additional pleas

Last April, Fiona Murphy SC, prosecuting, told the court that there would be additional pleas required from the three individuals when they appeared before the court for their sentence hearing.

Brady pleaded guilty today on Monday to seven further crime cash laundering offences, Mrs Brady admitted to 17 more crime cash laundering offences and Lukacs pleaded guilty to five more money laundering offences.

The court heard Declan and Deirdre Brady paid €66,301 to the Druids Glen Hotel in Wicklow for the wedding of a family member, €27,265 of which was paid in cash for bar and room bills. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
The court heard Declan and Deirdre Brady paid €66,301 to the Druids Glen Hotel in Wicklow for the wedding of a family member, €27,265 of which was paid in cash for bar and room bills. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

At Monday’s sentence hearing, Detective Sergeant Tom Anderson, of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, said Brady had declared “no gross income” to Revenue for four years and had five bank accounts, four of which he jointly held with his wife while another was a personal loan account.

Det Sgt Anderson described Mrs Brady as a “housewife and homemaker”, who had eight bank accounts in total between 2012 and 2017.

Her tax records showed that she had declared no income to the Revenue in that period and an analysis of her bank account showed lodgements of €690,000, he said.

The witness said monthly cash lodgements totalling €144,000 had been transferred by Mrs Brady to the Spanish account of Thomas Kavanagh over five years.

Kavanagh (52), a major player in the Kinahan cartel, pleaded guilty last year to a series of serious drug and firearms offences at a court in England. He is currently in custody in the UK awaiting sentencing.

Mrs Brady, who has no previous convictions, was arrested in Leixlip for the offence of money laundering on August 1st 2018.

Referring to Lukacs, Det Sgt Anderson said she operated four AIB bank accounts between 2012 and 2016 and one of these was a joint account with Brady. She had lodgements totalling €381,319 and Revenue records showed she had filed income tax returns in 2010 and 2015. She was also in receipt of regular child benefit for €140 and her declared income in 2016 was €34,245.

He said gardaí had no reason to believe that Lukacs had any knowledge of the cash found in The Dairy, where she resided and Mr Brady had accepted responsibility for this. She was arrested on July 3rd 2018 for the offence of money laundering and interviewed twice by gardaí, where she denied any knowledge of cash in her attic or house. She has no previous convictions.

The court was told that all three have paid money to the CAB. Declan and Mrs Brady were assessed as owing €622,929 and owe a balance of €173,649.

They have sold three of their properties, including a house in Firhouse in Dublin, another house in Wolstan Abbey and an apartment in Tavira in Portugal to pay over €449,000. The mortgage on their other apartment in Cala D’Or in Majorca had not been paid in some time and has been repossessed by the bank in Spain.

Lukacs settled her debts with CAB for €71,327.

‘Hit in pocket’

Under cross-examination, Det Sgt Anderson agreed with Michael O’Higgins SC, defending Brady, that his client and his wife have been “hit hard in the pocket” in relation to the sums of money reimbursed to the State in terms of their Revenue obligations.

The detective also agreed that Brady’s role in the operation was deemed more serious or higher than his two co-accused as he was taking orders from “more sinister forces based abroad”. He further agreed that individuals were giving orders and these instructions or directions could not be lightly disregarded.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt interjected saying: “Those people deny they have anything to do with anything of this sort at all.”

The lawyer put it to the witness that his client regretted getting involved with these people, that his two co-accused would not be involved but for his actions and Brady had not sought to hide behind this or spread the blame. Det Sgt Anderson agreed that this was the case.

Under cross-examination from Michael Bowman SC, defending Mrs Brady, Det Sgt Anderson agreed that Mrs Brady was acting under the instructions and direction of her husband and would have had “no hand, act or part” in where the funds were coming from.

“Mrs Brady did not have a hoard of jewellery when gardaí arrived, she wasn’t bedecked in Gucci and Armani,” said Mr Bowman, adding that there was no suggestion of shopping trips abroad to European capital cities.

Mr Bowman further put it to the witness that she never owned a car and lived modestly as a housewife. In reply, the detective said: “If she benefitted from cash lodgements to her account that was for the mortgage of those properties.”

Mr Justice Hunt asked Mr Bowman where did Mrs Brady think “this manna from heaven” was coming from. Counsel said it was “an omission as far as anything else” and Brady did not display such behaviour when they had originally got married.

Bernard Condon SC, for Lukacs, said she came to Ireland from Hungary in 2007 and began working in a petrol station, where she met Brady and they developed a relationship, which led to the birth of a child. The now four-year-old child has a very severe illness and cannot process proteins, he said. He submitted that his client would not be in court today if it wasn’t for Brady and had “no involvement in the generation of these funds”.

Erica Lukacs, with an address at Lakelands, Naas, Co. Kildare pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street in Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Collins Courts
Erica Lukacs, with an address at Lakelands, Naas, Co. Kildare pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street in Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Collins Courts

In mitigation, Mr Condon said Lukacs was her child’s full-time carer and is in receipt of social welfare. He asked the court to impose a non-custodial sentence as she had never been “in trouble” before.

Mr Justice Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh, remanded Brady in custody until July 30th, when he will be sentenced. The two women were remanded on continuing bail until that date.