GAA star in alleged €1m fraud scandal ‘called businessman asking for funds to treat cancer’

“He didn’t hand over the money but the talk is there are a number of businessmen in the county who did hand over large sums to him in cash”

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Patrick O’ConnellSunday World

A GAA star at the centre of an alleged €1 million fraud scandal is claimed to have cold-called a businessman in Northern Ireland seeking a £100,000 donation to fund a trip to the US for treatment for a rare cancer.

It’s understood the businessman, who has close ties to the GAA across the border, subsequently contacted a businessman in the star’s home county to seek his advice – but was told not to hand over a penny as scepticism was growing locally over his claims of ill-health.

A local source said yesterday that contact had been made by the player with this individual last November.

“Essentially, he cold-called him,” the source said yesterday.

“And he wasn’t the only businessman to receive such a call.

“Another businessman in this county was contacted and the same sum in euros was requested.

“He didn’t hand over the money either but the talk locally is there are a number of businessmen in the county who did hand over large sums to him in cash.”

The Sunday World understands that as well as leading business figures, the star also requested funds from at least one well known politician.

Sources said that on another occasion, the star offered to send a prospective beneficiary a copy of his medical records to bolster his claims of ill health.

Again, the monies sought by the GAA star were said to be in aid of funding medical treatment for a rare cancer, in this instance, thought to be melanoma in the United States.

It’s understood a number of complaints have been made to An Garda Siochana in recent months.

The investigation is being co-ordinated by gardai in the eastern region but from a station outside the star’s home county.

In recent weeks, investigators from the Garda Economic Crime Bureau have also been called in to assist as the investigations widens.

Among the allegations being investigated are claims the sporting figure exploited his popularity by tapping supporters and fans for cash.

Investigators have been told he allegedly asked for cash sums that ranged from several thousand euros to six figure sums to fund expensive treatment overseas.

Key to establishing if a fraud occurred will be examining the star’s claims of ill health to determine whether the reason he gave for seeking the cash was genuine.

Secondly, officers will seek to establish whether any medical treatment took place and how the money raised by the star was sent.

News of the investigation into the star’s affair has stunned the GAA community.

However, no details relating to the sporting figure’s identity can be revealed as the investigation is still in its early stages.

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