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'stolen art' Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley suing BBC over documentary

Martin Foley, represented by MacGuill and Co, entered the case into the High Court yesterday.

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Martin 'The Viper' Foley

Martin 'The Viper' Foley

Martin 'The Viper' Foley

Veteran criminal Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley has launched a High Court case against the BBC which broadcast a documentary last year about his part in a bid to find a billion-dollar haul of stolen art.

A retired British detective featured in The Billion Dollar Art Theft documentary on BBC 4 telling the story of how he has tried to track down art stolen from a Boston art gallery 30 years ago.

Charley Hill, a former head of the Met Police’s art and antiques squad who famously recovered Edvard Munch’s The Scream in 1994, believed there is an Irish link to the crime.

Foley, who is a former associate of Russborough House art thief Martin ‘The General’ Cahill, had been involved in negotiations to find the stolen painting according to Hill.

The works by artists including Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas and Manet, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum.

The thieves were two men dressed as police officers, who handcuffed the guards in the early hours of March 18, 1990.

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Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley

Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley

Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley

The museum is offering a $10m reward for information leading to the paintings’ recovery.

Foley guided Hill towards a potential deal with the surviving members of a gang he claims took the art, according to the documentary.

Hill said Foley told him the paintings were taken out of the US and have kept ever since behind the wall of a safe house somewhere in Dublin.

Foley, represented by MacGuill and Co, entered the case into the High Court yesterday and the firm has not yet responded to a Sunday World query

The Crumlin man is no stranger to High Court cases after a long battle with the Criminal Assets Bureau in a bid to avoid paying a €740,000 tax bill.

‘The Viper’ had previously tried to have the matter relating to a 1990s income tax bill quashed by the Court of Appeal, which ruled against him last November.

In his initial defence against the tax bill, Foley claimed he had been “taken by surprise” saying the CAB had failed to explain why it took 11 years to bring the judgment application.

Foley is one of Ireland’s most notorious criminals who survived four attempts on his life in which he suffered around 14 bullet wounds.

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He later set up a debt recovery business called Viper Debt Recovery and Repossession Services Limited, offering his services in collecting debts for clients.

In a recent viral video Foley is seen telling a businessman to 'Google me' as he tried to collect a disputed €10k debt.

The former gangland criminal turned debt-collector made the comment as he visited a taxi business in Ballyfermot, in south-west Dublin in March.

He demanded the owner pay the disputed debt to a former business partner.

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