Marcus Sweeney warned his life was in danger over debts to organised crime figures
Sweeney was served with a Garda Information Message (GIM) in 2020 after the ex-socialite’s dealings with trafficking mobs spectacularly backfired
Former Celtic Tiger playboy Marcus Sweeney was formally warned by gardai there was a serious threat to his life from an notorious international drugs gang, the Sunday World can reveal.
Sweeney was served with a Garda Information Message (GIM) in 2020 after the ex-socialite’s dealings with trafficking mobs spectacularly backfired on him.
GIM forms are given to people by officers when they receive credible intelligence that there is an immediate threat to their life.
Perma-tanned Sweeney is believed to have been threatened after a money-laundering plot on behalf of criminals linked to ‘The Family’ – who are regarded as Ireland’s biggest heroin dealing mob – went wrong.
Despite his upper-class upbringing, Sweeney somehow managed to embed himself with some of Europe’s most dangerous criminals.
These gangland figures included UK-based traffickers who supplied heroin to ‘The Family’.
As High Court Judge Alex Owens put it this week, Sweeney was “up to his oxters” in organised crime as the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) sought an order against his firm EWM Property Holdings, known as Evergreen Wealth Management.
Gardai now believe Sweeney and another business associate held a meeting with some of the investors in the firm in early 2020 over the debts.
This, according to gardai in their CAB case, was done to “reduce the threats to their person and property.”
The deal was only for certain investors, one of whom was believed to be Brian Grendon.
It wasn’t the first time Sweeney and Grendon had met together.
In August 2019, a garda detective was watching as Sweeney met with Grendon at the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre car park.
Immediately afterwards Sweeney met with Kuldip Singh from Birmingham and Turkish national Ali Adnan Duran, both known at that stage to be involved in the drugs trade.
When gardai raided the B&B room where the pair were staying in Saggart, Co Dublin they found 14 half-kilo blocks of heroin with a street value just shy of €1m.
All three were arrested and while Sweeney was later released without charge, Singh would later be jailed for four years and Duran for nine years.
Both are ‘top tier’ members of one of Europe’s biggest criminal gangs, suspected of being behind a haul of more than 670 kilos of heroin seized on the German/Polish border.
They had arrived in Ireland to escape the attentions of the police in the UK but instead were placed under surveillance by gardai before their arrests.
Sweeney had also been useful for Grendon, helping him to set up Platinum Motors, which was separately a target for CAB.
In 2018, the firm was served with an income tax demand in excess of €500,000.
According to the CAB case, Grendon invested €20,000 in Sweeney’s Evergreen in 2015 through another firm, BG Autos, but “significantly higher” amounts of cash were also invested by him.
The Bureau’s case centred on lands bought by the firm for €102,000 at Waynestown, Co. Meath, in 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.
Gardai believe the firm was essentially a money laundering vehicle.
Judge Owens said the fact that some of the money used had been given to Sweeney by other investors – one of them a friend of the socialite – for a different purpose also meant 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 a garda statement to deliberately falsifying lodgement dockets.
He wasn’t the only businessman sucked into the criminal underworld according to the CAB case presented to the High Court this week.
Sweeney was also associated with Oisin Legaspi, who was described as being a supplier of vehicles and a business advisor to garages operated by organised gangs including the Kinahan gang and The Family.
Legaspi and another man suspected of involvement in a €1.42m money laundering operation, were instructed to act as negotiator and representative of the creditors in getting their investment back from Evergreen
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 lodgments being made to the firm from unknown sources.
Sweeney did not appear in court and was not represented during the hour-long hearing on Wednesday.
Sweeney was a celebrated socialite during the Celtic Tiger era and had a famously turbulent relationship with the model Katy French.
That relationship came to an end in 2007 when he walked into his Il Pomo D’oro restaurant on South William Street in Dublin’s city centre and found her posing in lingerie for photographs.
Katy 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.”
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