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Wig deal Graham 'The Wig' Whelan appears in court on money laundering charges

Graham 'The Wig' Whelan (38), with an address at Walkinstown Avenue, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 appeared before the three-judge court today charged with 10 non-scheduled offences that include charges related to drug trafficking.

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Graham 'The Wig' Whelan

Graham 'The Wig' Whelan

Graham 'The Wig' Whelan

A father-of-four has appeared before the non-jury Special Criminal Court this afternoon accused of laundering crime cash through spends at a five-star south Dublin hotel and by carrying out renovations to his home.

Graham 'The Wig' Whelan (38), with an address at Walkinstown Avenue, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 appeared before the three-judge court today charged with 10 non-scheduled offences that include charges related to drug trafficking.

The court was told that Mr Whelan refused to deal with the arresting officer when he attempted to explain the substance of the charges to him.

Mr Whelan is charged with converting, transferring, handling, acquiring, possessing or using money in the amounts of €1,275 and €2,140 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, on January 31 2019, knowing or believing or being reckless as to whether the property was the proceeds of criminal conduct. The amount of €2,140 was paid for a room at the five star hotel.

The accused man is also charged with converting, transferring, handling, acquiring, possessing or using an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Gentleman's watch at the same time and location, knowing or believing or being reckless as to whether the property was the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Mr Whelan is further charged with possessing or controlling an article to wit a tick list in circumstances giving rise to a reasonable inference that he possessed or controlled it for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation, facilitation or instigation of a drug trafficking offence on the same occasion.

He is also accused of possessing or controlling an article to wit a BQ Aquarius mobile phone in circumstances giving rise to a reasonable inference that he possessed or controlled it for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation, facilitation or instigation of a drug trafficking offence on the same occasion.

In addition, Mr Whelan is charged with possessing cocaine and cannabis in a room at the hotel on the same date. He is also charged with possessing cannabis on Walkinstown Avenue, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 on May 1, 2019.

The defendant is further charged with concealing and disguising the true nature or source of money used in the improvement and/or refurbishment of property at Walkinstown Avenue, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 between August 21 2018 and May 1 2019, knowing or believing or being reckless as to whether the property was the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Finally, Mr Whelan is accused of converting, transferring, handling, acquiring, possessing or using money in the improvement and/or refurbishment of the property between the same dates, knowing or believing or being reckless as to whether the property was the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Detective Garda Donal Donoghue today gave evidence to the Special Criminal Court of Mr Whelan's arrest, charge and caution. He told State Solicitor Ciara Vibien that he arrested the accused on Walkinstown Avenue at 12.35pm this afternoon.

The detective said he then met the accused man in the precincts of the court later today, where he handed him a copy of the original charge sheet. He told the court: "I attempted to explain the substance of the charges to him however he did not want to deal with me."

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After informing Mr Whelan that he would be brought before the Special Criminal Court today, Det Gda Donoghue said the accused man refused to take a copy of the charge sheet and a copy of the Director of Public Prosecution's certificate from him. "I handed a copy of both to the accused's solicitor," he added.

The detective told Keith Spencer BL, defending, that he was objecting to bail and was in a position to furnish his objections to the defence later today.

Mr Whelan, who appeared before the court wearing a blue jacket with a fur hood and trousers, stood as requested when the court registrar began to read the 10 charges to him.

Mr Spencer asked the non-jury court for the bail application to be dealt with today as he said the charges clearly related to 2018 and 2019 and his client had remained in the jurisdiction since then.

The detective agreed with counsel that his client's solicitor had previously written to gardai indicating that the accused was able to present himself at a garda station if he was to be charged.

Ms Vibien told the three-judge panel that gardai had serious objections to bail and had concerns about Mr Whelan's access to money saying: "For this reason gardai wish to make enquiries in advance of that". The State solicitor asked for the accused man to be remanded in custody until Wednesday morning.

"Mr Whelan doesn't consent for a remand in custody for two days so that they can get their house in order. I would submit given this man's right to liberty, the court should hear the bail application today," outlined Mr Spencer.

The defence barrister said his client only proposed to reside at his home address in Walkinstown, where he cared for his four children and explained to the court that the accused man's wife had passed away recently. "It's for that reason why we are applying for bail today," he concluded.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath, presiding, sitting with Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain and Judge Dermot Dempsey, remanded the accused in custody until Wednesday morning, when a bail application will be made to the court.

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