Bank in contact with gardaí as former GAA star arrested over cancer fraud claims

It is understood gardaí are now carrying out enquiries regarding the former player’s financial history and previous dealings with banks

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A leading bank is in contact with gardaí as part of an investigation into an alleged fraud scandal involving a retired GAA star.

Sources at the Irish bank confirmed they have been engaging with members of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) since details of the allegations against him emerged.

It is understood gardaí are now carrying out enquiries regarding the former player’s financial history and previous dealings with banks.

Gardaí yesterday arrested the man under Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud) Offences Act and he can be held for questioning for up to 24 hours.

“Gardaí in the eastern region have arrested a male in relation to an ongoing investigation into an alleged fraud,” a spokesperson said.

“An Garda Síochána does not comment on named persons.”

The GNECB is currently carrying out a full-scale investigation after it received complaints that the man approached a number of people seeking donations for cancer treatment in the US.

He claimed to numerous individuals that he was suffering from a rare bone marrow cancer and needed to receive urgent care abroad in the US.

However, those who donated to him now fear they may have been deceived.

The GNECB is looking to determine whether he was in fact diagnosed with cancer and for what he used the money he received – estimated to be and around €1m.

He has experienced financial difficulties in recent years and a number of debt judgments were secured against him, including one by the Revenue Commissioners for a five-figure sum.

The former inter-county star made a number of approaches to businesspeople, supporters and sporting organisations seeking financial assistance to travel abroad for stem cell treatment.

Sources revealed how he approached prominent members of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), which represents inter-county players, for financial help.

The GPA has a benevolent fund to support current and past players who are experiencing financial difficulties.

However, it is not clear whether he received money directly from this fund, or received any money at all.

The GPA declined to comment when contacted.

It was also revealed by the Sunday Independent that billionaire Denis O’Brien had been approached on a number of occasions and provided funds after the man claimed he needed money for medical treatment.

Mr O’Brien was contacted by gardaí and assisted the investigation.

It is understood he donated money in the tens of thousands to help the sportsman.

Gardaí are continuing to take statements from people who allegedly gave money to the man under what they fear now were false pretences.

The man has claimed to numerous individuals in the past two years that he was diagnosed with cancer.

However, there were rumours about his health as far back as six years ago.

In 2017, a reporter with the Irish Independent contacted him about an alleged diagnosis.

He replied to say: “It’s a matter that I want and need to keep private and don’t wish to have out in public.”

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