Man (40) remanded in custody for alleged cybercrime offences

Suleman Mazhar charged with a total of six theft, fraud and money laundering offences

A man who was arrested in Cork as part of international investigation into cybercrime by gardaí working with the FBI has been remanded in custody after he was charged with a series of fraud and money laundering offences here in Ireland.

Suleman Mazhar (40) with an address at Fort Hill, Moneygourney, Douglas, Co Cork, was arrested by officers from the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau on Thursday and brought before Cork District Court on Frida) where he was charged with a total of six offences.

Mr Mazhar, who was born in Pakistan but came to Ireland in 2002 and has Irish citizenship, was charged with five offences contrary to the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 and one offence contrary to the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010.

Among the offences that he was charged with was that he handled €41,618 via electronic transfers to a named bank account while knowing the money was the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Mr Mazhar was also charged with three offences that on May 12th, 2022, at an apartment at Railway St, Passage West, Co Cork, he was in possession of three specially designed or adapted smart card readers with the aim of inducing another person to accept they were genuine.

He was also charged with another two offences that on May 12th, 2022, he was in possession at the same address of 10 plastic cards with magnetic strips and 42 cards with embedded smart chips, all of which he knew or believed to be false instruments or fake cards.

Det Sgt Wes Kenny of the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau gave evidence of arrest and told the court that Mr Mazhar made no reply to any of the six charges when they were put to him after caution.

He said gardaí were objecting to bail and, outlining the alleged facts of the case, he said their investigation into the alleged transfers of crypto-currency had seen the accused allegedly involved in over 2,000 transactions, involving $346,000 over a one-year period.

Det Sgt Kenny said gardaí feared if the accused was released on bail he would go directly to a computer, close down websites and effectively destroy evidence being gathered against him while they also feared he would flee the country and not stand trial.

Defence solicitor, Joe Cuddigan said Mr Mazhar, who is now unemployed but had previously worked in finance and in computers, would agree to any bail conditions, including staying off the internet and not using any computer or related device.

However, Judge Alec Gabbett refused bail and he remanded Mr Mazhar in custody for one week. Mr Mazhar will appear again by video link from prison at Cork District Court on Friday, May 20th when it is hoped to have the DPP's directions on the matter.