NewsCrime Desk

Viper looks set to slither free

Martin Foley
Martin Foley

Veteran criminal Martin Foley is unlikely to face any charges in relation to a bizarre incident in a city centre jewellers after he was accused of false imprisonment.

CCTV of the supposed ‘kidnapping’ incident shows no suggestion that a woman had been held against her will.

Jewellery shop owner Colm Buckley called Gardai and held Foley at his Ilac Centre shop on Monday.

The footage of Foley being dragged to the ground in the Milano store was on YouTube during the week as the 64-year-old remained in hospital after taking a turn while being questioned at Store Street Garda Station. He was released on Thursday.

Buckley’s wife Lucy told us that she was retracting her statements to Gardai. “I just want all this to be forgotten. There is nothing to it,” she said.

It is understood her husband had agreed to sell a €6,000 ring for Foley, but after it was sold the customer’s credit card transaction never processed. Foley said he was owed his money regardless.

Last Monday, Foley had a coffee with Lucy to discuss payment, but the jeweller panicked and rang Gardai.

They were told Foley had held her against her will and demanded money with menaces. However, CCTV footage shows no indication Foley was breaking the law.

Gardai were called to the scene and the veteran gangster and his pal were subsequently arrested.

The 64-year-old has a long history of involvement but only recently got married and had a child. He has more than 40 convictions, some for assault, robbery, and possession of threatening weapons.

Before settling down, he was the subject of four attempted assassinations, and has been shot over a dozen times. 

Foley has a total of 15 bullet holes in his body after surviving the murder bids. He is known as "Rasputin" among his criminal colleagues because nobody has ever been able to kill him.

After a botched hit attempt in 2000, Foley spoke about how being shot had affected him.

He said: "When you are shot on three different occasions and you have eleven holes in your body, psychologically the thing is never going to leave you and you would react to certain situations where anything bad might happen."

He was raided by the Criminal Assets Bureau late last year after being handed a bill for €916,960 from them. The bill relates to the alleged under declaration of income tax from his debt collection business Viper Recovery Agency which is now defunct.