REVEALED: Middle-class businessman who gardai suspect is gangland banker
This is the middle-class businessman who gardaí suspect is ‘the Banker’ for gangland criminals.
The Dublin based dad is in charge of a family business which was once operated by a senior associate.
The man in his 30s lives in a comfortable home in south Dublin, takes luxury holidays abroad and socialises with other successful young families.
But behind that facade, Gardai suspect the ‘Banker’ is actually running a sophisticated money service for some of Ireland’s most dangerous criminals, including his close associate Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch.
The Sunday World can reveal that Gardaí uncovered the privately owned gangland bank during investigations into businessman Jim Mansfield Snr’s former empire.
It is suspected the service, which includes money exchange and transfers, along with investment services, has been in existence for at least four decades.
It started out as a laundering service for the IRA’s southern command and other dissident organisations, including the INLA.
With close links to Jim Mansfield, the ‘bank’, which is located in a business premises in west Dublin, trades as a regular import-and-export facility.
But it is suspected that while bringing in goods it also operates as a storage unit for underworld criminals and a deposit facility to move cash across the world.
The Banker is now firmly in the sights of the Criminal Assets Bureau, who are conducting an enormous investigation into Mansfield and his associates, including the fraudster James ‘Fat Boy’ O’Gorman – who is believed to have helped set up a pyramid scheme which has conned some notorious criminals out of millions of euro of their savings.
Sources say ‘the Banker’ can charge between 10 and 20 per cent to transport cash from criminals, including the Kinahan Cartel, to Spain and mainland Europe.
Gardai suspect the cash is vacuum packed at a facility and shipped, hidden among random goods. Criminals can either physically transport containers of cash through the facility or the Banker can transfer funds for them for collection in another country.
Once deposited with him in the form of cash or through other laundering techniques, the money can be made available within 24 hours in most countries in Europe and beyond.
Gardaí believe that the gangland bank has been existence for decades and has been used by subversives, drug dealers and cigarette smugglers.
The Banker has also used his respectable facade to invest funds for organised crime gangs. It is understood that the Monk invested up to €1m with him in recent years in a property development in west Dublin.
He had tight links with Kinahan enforcer Paul Rice for years, but has fallen out over money which he now owes to the Tallaght criminal after an investment went bad.
Other clients include INLA boss Paul ‘Jaws’ Kelly.
Paul ‘Jaws’ Kelly
The Banker is among a group who have found themselves in financial difficulties since the downfall of Mansfield.
In a rush to clean up his dirty money debts after his legitimate business interests went under, Mansfield brought in O’Gorman, who lured investors with criminal cash into a number of scams.
It is understood that ‘the Banker’ was among many who saw an opportunity to make a killing and although he knew O’Gorman’s background, he felt confident that he had the backing of Mansfield in his enterprises.
In recent months, he has come under massive pressure from the Monk for returns on his cash, along with debts he owes to drug bosses like Brian Mahony, from Coolock.
In recent years Mahony was landed with a huge CAB bill and named as a key player in the Kinahan Cartel.
He had started out working as a driver for members of the Kinahan mob, but set himself up as a legitimate businessman after being caught with a consignment of cannabis.
Mahony later used the cover while rising to a role as a main distributor for drugs in Ireland.
He was closely linked to gangland accountant Matthew Dunne and at one point the pair were seen meeting with the cocaine kingpin Philip Baron – whose wife Elaine is a personal friend of the Mansfield family.
“The Banker inherited a healthy business that was previously run in a very conservative way by a senior associate who never overstretched himself and made sure that he didn’t over-invest for anyone,” a source said.
“Basically, if anything happened he would have always had the reserves to pay up. He knew the type of people he was dealing with and respected them,”
“However, when the Banker took over he got greedy and expanded ‘the bank’ so it could not only transfer goods and cash, but it would also offer an investment service. He essentially went into business with his clients.
“Unfortunately, some of those investments have gone wrong and he is now coming under pressure to return the investments. There is pressure on him so he is trying to put pressure on others to keep his head above water.
“The fact that he has the Criminal Assets Bureau on his back now as well is a total disaster for him.
“He lives as if he is a totally respectable businessman, but what people don’t know is the kind of people this man is facilitating and the kinds of people he is doing business with.”