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Celtic Tiger socialite Marcus Sweeney ‘up to his oxters’ in organised crime, court told

The High Court heard how Brian Grendon, described as a serious criminal, was one of the chief investors in the firm founded by Marcus Sweeney.

Marcus Sweeney (left) and right, with Katy French. Brian Grendon (centre)

Marcus Sweeney

Katy French and Marcus Sweeney

Ex-restaurant owner Marcus Sweeney

Brian Grendon

Eamon DillonSunday World

SOCIALITE Marcus Sweeney has been described as “up to his oxters” in organised crime in court – as the Criminal Assets Bureau moved against his firm EWM Property Holdings.

One the Ireland’s most high-profile socialites during the Celtic Tiger is the owner of the firm which was involved in “highly dubious” investment schemes.

It was heard at the High Court how Brian Grendon, described as a serious criminal, was one of the chief investors in the firm founded by Sweeney.

Grendon, a convicted drug dealer, heads up a criminal gang known as ‘The Family’ who are believed to be responsible for dealing in millions of euro worth of heroin every year.

Sweeney also had also been seen by gardai in the company of two men at a meeting in Dublin who were later arrested in possession nearly €1 million worth of heroin, the court was told.

Katy French and Marcus Sweeney

He is also alleged to have associated with other Irish criminals suspected of drug dealing and money laundering and with international criminals with links to the UK and Turkey.

The CAB case centred on lands bought by the firm for €102,000 at Waynestown Co Meath which, it was contended, was bought with the proceeds of crime.

Half the cash came from another investment firm, which in turn came from unknown sources and another third from an innocent investor.

Judge Owens said the fact that some of the money used had been given to him by other investors, one of them a friend of Sweeney’s, for a different purpose means the property was acquired with the proceeds of crime.

He said the money was misused and the friend was “taken advantage of”.

Sweeney had admitted in garda statement to deliberately falsifying lodgement dockets.

Finding in favour of the CAB Judge Owens said it was a “very compelling case” in which Sweeney was up to his oxters” with organised crime with cash lodgements being made to the firm from unknown sources.

Sweeney did not appear in court and was not represented during the hour long hearing.

Marcus Sweeney was a celebrated socialite during the Celtic Tiger era and had a famously turbulent relationship with the model Katy French.

That came to an end in 2007 when he walked into his restaurant on South William Street in Dublin’s city centre and found her posing in lingerie for photographs.

Brian Grendon

She later died tragically from a cocaine overdose.

After her death he said she already had a cocaine problem when they had started dating and said he sourced the drug for her.

He said while he used it as a “social drug” she had bigger issues with it.

“Katy had no limit when it came to coke, she never wanted to stop, always wanted more.”

After the collapse of his restaurant business, Sweeney has tried to reinvent himself a number of times, once as a self-styled life coach and fitness guru.

He later tried his hand as a car salesman.

The businessman’s home in Co. Meath was one of a number of properties searched during a CAB operation in May 2020.

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