| 10.6°C Dublin

double life How tycoon Jim Mansfield Snr juggled the business world and the crime underworld

He operated as a banker to gangland criminals at the same time as he wined and dined politicians, police chiefs and the country's business elite

Close

Jim Mansfield Sr pictured at Citywest Hotel. Photo: Colin Keegan,

Jim Mansfield Sr pictured at Citywest Hotel. Photo: Colin Keegan,

Jim Mansfield Sr pictured at Citywest Hotel. Photo: Colin Keegan,

It's a story that won't be found on the business pages or the gushing interviews with the late Jim Mansfield Snr, where he is described as a genius entrepreneur who made his fortune through savvy investments and an eye for growth.

But behind the meteoric rise to riches in Celtic Tiger Ireland lay a man who knew how to juggle the powerbrokers of legitimate society and the kingpins of the underworld.

His legacy could have remained an entirely honourable one and his dealings with gangland criminals a secret had the axis of his precariously balanced world not tilted when the collapse of Lehman Brothers Bank brought a whole lot of trouble to his door.

It has taken years for the story of the rise and fall of billionaire businessman Jim Mansfield Snr to come out and it will no doubt take many more for the tale to be complete, but a short hearing in a courtroom in Cork this week has lifted the lid on one of Ireland's best kept secrets.

Today, the Sunday World can reveal how Mansfield Snr ran millions in dirty money through the books at his Citywest empire and operated as a banker to gangland criminals at the same time as he wined and dined politicians, police chiefs and the country's business elite.

The Mansfield family have previously denied Jim Snr was involved in criminality.

Mansfield, who died in January 2014, was certainly an extraordinary character. His Citywest hotel was the venue for the annual Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, high-profile GAA functions and even hosted a family wedding for former Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne.

Close

RIRA member Nathan Kinsella meeting with Jimmy Mansfield JR at Mondello Park.

RIRA member Nathan Kinsella meeting with Jimmy Mansfield JR at Mondello Park.

RIRA member Nathan Kinsella meeting with Jimmy Mansfield JR at Mondello Park.

But behind the scenes Mansfield was laundering money and 'washing' stolen goods for known Traveller gangs, paramilitaries and some of the country's best-known criminals.

Among those he is believed to have dealt with are drug dealer Paddy Shanahan, murdered cigarette smuggler Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan, drug dealer Eamon Kelly, Traveller gang boss 'Fat' Andy Connors and a number of well-known Rathkeale gangsters who traded in stolen art and antiques.

At one point, Gerry 'the Monk' Hutch used Mansfield's facilities to wash some of his funds, as did other well-known criminals like Limerick's Dundon crime gang, who even purchased a safe house at Citywest.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Members of the Kinahan Cartel also invested €5 million in a property deal with Mansfield, before the banks shut him down.

And in part-payment of the debt the businessman owed the Irish Mafia, it is understood he handed No 10 Coldwater Lakes to them, the home of his wife Anne.

It was 2011, when all Mansfield Snr's worst nightmares came through and his business went into receiverships with his debts - both legitimate and dirty - washing into the same pot.

As he and his son Jim Mansfield Jnr became increasingly desperate to claw back key investments - namely Finnstown House Hotel, a site known as Paddy Reilly's field and properties in Saggart, south county Dublin - in order to keep the wolves from the door as his health began to fail.

Close

Jim Mansfield Jnr Photo: Collins Courts

Jim Mansfield Jnr Photo: Collins Courts

Jim Mansfield Jnr Photo: Collins Courts

By 2013, he was bed-ridden and being cared for in Tasaggart house while Jim Jnr was left to try and deal with the mess.

During his recent trial at the Special Criminal Court, it was heard that he employed various paramilitary groupings for protection from gangs who were putting pressure on him to pay them money they claimed to be owed.

It was also heard that he moved a convicted fraudster James O'Gorman, aka 'The Fat Man', into the family home to cook up schemes to make money. The CAB case is understood to centre on one of those debt commitments which fell foul of the takeover.

The Sunday World understands that before Mansfield snr went under, a deal was agreed with senior members of the Kinahan group to launder more than €5million through property at Citywest.

The money was paid over, Gardaí believe, but the deal wasn't completed before the receivers moved in and the Kinahan money went south. Efforts were made to clear the debt.

Close

Daniel Kinahan and brother Christopher Kinahan jr

Daniel Kinahan and brother Christopher Kinahan jr

Daniel Kinahan and brother Christopher Kinahan jr

The trial of Jimmy Mansfield Jnr last year at the Special Criminal Court heard from State witness Martin Byrne how others too came looking and how a string of paramilitary groups and terrorists were hired to provide security.

Among those named as frequenting the Mansfield family home was convicted Real IRA thug Nathan Kinsella, who was described as using it 'like his office'.

When the convicted fraudster James O'Gorman moved in to the grounds of the house in an effort to cook up ways to raise investment funds, Gardaí began to investigate and a suspected VAT scam was uncovered.

Following the death of Mansfield Snr, things went from bad to worse and at one point an INLA unit was living on the grounds of the family property.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy