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high court Tiger kidnapper Stefan Saunders looks for free legal aid to fight CAB case

Saunders and his wife Tammy say they can’t afford a solicitor to fight a case being taken against them by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

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Stefan Saunders and his Clonee home

Stefan Saunders and his Clonee home

Stefan Saunders and his Clonee home

Tiger kidnapper Stefan Saunders is living on jobseekers allowance of more than €200 per week while his wife Tammy is benefiting from the Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week.

The couple have listed their monthly living expenses as €2,553 per month and say they can’t afford a solicitor to fight a case being taken against them by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Mortgages on two houses, their family home and an investment property, have been taken over by vulture funds as they have failed to keep up the repayments, Justice Alexander Owens heard.

But the High Court said that their application for free legal aid fails to detail how they could ever have legitimately afforded to purchase the properties bought in 2005 and 2006 and spend €120,000 on an extension.

The pair were told to return details which set out the ‘exceptional circumstances’ that would convince the court to give them a solicitor courtesy of the taxpayer and that they provide information about what defence they have in the case.

During an application before the High Court today details of their income were discussed as the court heard details how the houses have been identified by the Bureau as the Proceeds of Crime.

Tammy Saunders who is a dressmaker is facing personal insolvency, the court heard, and the investment property in Finglas is set to be sold and the net proceeds will be paid off the mortgage on the family home at Hazelbury Park in Clonee.

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Stefan Saunders' home in Clonee

Stefan Saunders' home in Clonee

Stefan Saunders' home in Clonee

The court also heard details of Tammy Saunders dress making business which netted her less than €30,000 in the last year it was operating before the pandemic. She pays rent of €500 a month for a showroom.

The court heard that for three years she has been in receipt of a further €280 per week in social welfare back to work payments as she established her business before relying on the PUP. She owns a BMW car worth €7,000.

Forty-three-year-old Stefan Saunders told the court that he hasn’t worked since he was released from prison but was a plasterer up until the year 2010. He was freed form jail last September and has been in receipt of job seekers allowance ever since.

Saunders is suspected of being the most prolific tiger kidnapper in the country and gardaí put huge efforts into nabbing him over the years eventually catching him as he plotted a robbery.

However, after conviction and a jail term against him, the criminal was released from prison early because of good behaviour and his willingness to carry out ‘community work.’

Saunders is regarded as a top tier and dangerous criminal who once attended a military training camp and did a course in counter surveillance run by former Soviet soldiers in Eastern Europe.

He is the latest in a line of serious organised career criminals looking for free legal aid against the Bureau. A decision to grant David Waldron state funds in his fight their claims against his stunning Wexford mansion and other assets is awaiting a decision by the Appeals court.

Drug dealer Waldron was once part of Eamon ‘The Don’ Dunne’s crew and is understood to have amassed a fortune supplying drugs but he was granted legal aid in court so he could challenge the Bureau’s case against him.

Saunders was once suspected of having amassed a €6 million fortune from a career in organised crime during which he lavished expensive gifts on loved ones and lived it up in the family’s €400,000 luxury home at Hazelbury Park in Clonee which is now part of the proceedings against him.

He was released from jail last September along with two notorious associates after pleading guilty to his role in a €2 million bank raid plot.

Despite receiving a seven and a half year sentence for masterminding the raid on a cash delivery to an ATM in County Meath he was released on a jail scheme involving community service.

Saunders was a number on target of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau when he was nabbed in 2016 during the botched robbery. Together with the Special Crime Task force they put together Operation Woven against him and his gang.

They planned the robbery at the ATM in a disused bank and were awaiting the arrival of the money when gardaí swooped after mounting an undercover operation on them.

Gardaí at one point searched the cavity walls of his home for funds they believe he had hidden away.

Tammy Saunders was once a director of a number of hair salons along with her husband but in recent years has been making frilly children’s clothing.


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