Trial of solicitor told of €610,000 taken from garda’s account

About 34 gardaí involved in property company with Byrne

 

A garda and property dealer has told the trial of Thomas Byrne he never made a criminal complaint about €610,000 which was taken from his account at the former solicitor’s practice.

Brian Whelan gave evidence that he later learned the money was paid into the account of property developer John Kelly without his instructions. The garda said that Mr Kelly and Mr Byrne were partners in a property business at the time.

Mr Whelan has alleged that Mr Byrne failed to pass on a €1.87 million cheque which was intended to pay off a mortgage on an apartment complex at Dorset Street he bought with two other gardaí­.

Today Mr Whelan told the accused’s defence counsel that a further €610,000 was also never passed onto the bank to pay off the mortgages of two other properties. However the garda never made a criminal complaint about this money.

The jury heard Mr Whelan was partners with Mr Byrne in a property company they set up called Compass. About 34 gardaí were involved in the company with Mr Whelan, his wife, Mr Byrne and another garda, Enda Mulryan acting as directors.

The court heard Compass engaged in between 10 and 12 investments including buying shares in a shopping centre in Odessa in Ukraine and buying land in Belize in South America.

Mr Byrne (47) of Walkinstown Road, Crumlin is accused of theft and fraud offences totalling €51.8 million. Most of the counts allege he transferred clients’ homes into his name and then used them as collateral for bank loans.

He has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 51 counts of theft, forgery, using forged documents and deception between 2004 and 2007.

Mr Whelan told defence counsel Damien Colgan SC that Thomas Byrne arranged the sale of two houses in Swords for him for a total of €610,000.

Counsel presented ledger entries from Mr Byrne’s records stating this money was lodged into the client account of Mr Whelan and then paid out to Mr Kelly. Mr Whelan said this was done without his knowledge or instructions.

Mr Whelan said he never invested with Mr Kelly but had met him about 10 times socially and in the developer’s offices in The Beacon in Sandymount.

Mr Whelan said he later made a formal statement to gardaí about the Dorset Street property but acknowledged he did not do so for the missing money from the two Swords properties.

He said he had already made a complaint about it to the Law Society which was responsible for compensating alleged victims of Mr Byrne’s actions.

Mr Whelan said in the end he was compensated for the Dorset Street property but not the Swords properties as he had already received the maximum amount of compensation the Law Society would pay out.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of seven men and five women.