Mansfield laundered cash for criminals, paramilitaries and traveller gangs
Millionaire businessman Jim Mansfield Snr ran millions of euro of dirty money through the books at his Citywest empire and Gardaí now suspect that he operated as a banker to gangland criminals.
Mansfield, who died in January 2014, mixed with politicians, senior gardaí and some of the country’s business elite.
His Citywest hotel was the venue for the annual Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, high-profile GAA functions and even hosted a family wedding for former Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne.
But it is understood that behind the scenes Mansfield was laundering money and ‘washing’ stolen goods for known traveller gangs, paramilitaries and some of the country’s best-known criminals.
Among those he is believed to have dealt with are drug dealer Paddy Shanahan, murdered cigarette smuggler Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan, drug dealer Eamon Kelly, traveller gang boss ‘Fat’ Andy Connors and a number of well-known Rathkeale gangsters who traded in stolen art and antiques.
It is understood that at one point Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch used Mansfield’s facilities to wash some of his funds, as did other well-known criminals like Martin ‘the Viper’ Foley and Limerick’s Dundon crime gang, who even purchased a safe house at Citywest.
Members of the Kinahan Cartel also invested €5million in a property deal with Mansfield before the banks shut him down.
And in part payment of the debt the businessman owed the cartel, it is understood he handed over a luxurious mansion at plush Coldwater Lakes to them.
At the time his businesses went bust in 2011, it is believed Mansfield didn’t only owe money to the banks, but also had dirty money investments which became his priority to pay back.
Gardaí investigating documents linked to Mansfield have discovered a list of dirty money debts – believed to be in excess of €360m – owed since his empire crashed. Some of the debts had been serviced with high-powered cars facilitated by a well-known criminal.
After going into receivership, the businessman set up a series of scams in the hope of raising funds to pay off his criminal debtors and to try to buy back key parts of his business.
PJ, Jim Snr and Tony Mansfield
The Sunday World recently detailed how Mansfield enlisted the help of convicted fraudster James ‘Fat Boy’ O’Gorman, who encouraged a host of criminals to invest funds in a bullet resistant glass scheme.
It is understood, however, that he had in fact set up a complex pyramid scheme with millions of euro from criminal investors.
The money, Gardaí believe, was going to be used by Mansfield to buy back key parts of his empire, including Finnstown House Hotel, Paddy Reilly’s Field in Rathcoole and Saggart Lodge Court.
Gardaí believe that O’Gorman was also the brains behind a suspected VAT scam, which involved companies hiring out their services to the hotel industry. While O’Gorman doesn’t appear as a director of the companies, PJ Mansfield has been linked to one, New Recruits Personnel Limited.
Mansfield Snr is believed to have pocketed up to €12,000 a week from one of the scams as he scrambled to pay back his criminal clients.
The Sunday World can reveal that a number of criminal gangs, including a traveller mob, were also encouraged to invest in a property development on land in south Dublin.
The plan was to sell-off the development once planning permission was acquired. However, it is unlikely that such permission will ever be given on the site and, to date, no application has even been filed.
We can also reveal how, before he went under, a deal was agreed with senior members of the Kinahan Cartel. Although more than €5million of Kinahan drug money was paid over to Mansfield for properties to launder cash, the deal was never completed due to him going into receivership.
Since then, payments have been made in an attempt to clear the debt. They include two major properties, high-powered vehicles and cash.
One of the houses believed to have been given to the mob was 10 Coldwater Lakes, which was once home to Mansfield’s wife, Anne. The mansion was raided last year by the Criminal Assets Bureau and boxer Matthew Macklin was discovered staying there although he has no links to crime.
The mob mansion was renovated and fitted with top-of-the-range security after it was given to the Kinahans, and both Daniel and Christopher Jnr have since been spotted there by detectives.
It is understood the original investment was for five homes from the Mansfield portfolio. Several car dealers linked to the Kinahans were used to facilitate the repayments.
However, dissident groups then appeared on the scene offering protection to the businessman in his dealings with the cartel.
Mansfield had always tried to distance himself from the drug business. A large portion of the debt remains outstanding.
The Sunday World understands that Mansfield Snr tried desperately to put his affairs in order as his health worsened and the financial crisis he found himself in deepened.
Last year, on the first anniversary of his death, the CAB launched a major offensive against properties and businesses linked to him.
Among several properties raided was his family home, Tassagart House and the Finnstown Castle Hotel, which members of his family now run. Hundreds of documents and details of his business affairs were swept up in the searches and Bureau officers have been trying to follow a dirty money trail ever since.