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Courts

Man accused of renting properties for prostitution for 'major criminal organisation' refused bail

It is alleged the man had a “vital role in organising prostitution in Ireland” for several years and “coerced young vulnerable women into the industry.

A MAN ACCUSED of leasing properties around Ireland for organised prostitution and sexual exploitation of vulnerable women has been refused bail after a court heard claims he was “a member of a major criminal organisation”.

Ilamar Rodrigues Ribeiro (52), from Brazil with no fixed address in Ireland, was arrested at Dublin Airport on Thursday by detectives from the Garda National Protective Services Bureau.

It follows a “multi-jurisdictional” investigation, with 1,500 exhibits, predicated on the allegations of two women who allegedly came forward.

Judge Anthony Halpin heard they made complaints to gardai who believe Mr Ribeiro had a “vital role”.

He is accused of 16 offences between 2017 and 2020.

Six counts were for deception by allegedly leasing six properties in Ballymahon, Co. Longford, Kildare Town, Tullow, Co. Carlow, Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim, and Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, and in Roscommon Town, for his own gain.

Eight were for using bills or Italian passports in other names as false instruments to secure leases.

The final two were money laundering charges.

The offences, on conviction, carry maximum sentences between five and 14 years, and he may face “further more serious charges”.

Mr Ribeiro appeared before Judge Halpin at Dublin District Court on Saturday evening and faced a Garda application to remand him in custody due to flight risk fears and the seriousness of the case.

Judge Halpin said: “I cannot tailor conditions that will satisfy this court in relation to this matter to grant bail. I just can’t fathom what conditions would satisfy me having regard to the nature of the bail application.”

He agreed with Detective Sergeant John Ryan, who moved the bail objection, that “the defendant represents a huge flight risk”.

Mr Ribeiro, who has not indicated a plea, claimed, via an interpreter, that he would stay in the country pending trial and would be able to live with his ex-wife in Co. Galway.

Judge Halpin remanded him in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court on November 23 pending directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Detective Garda Vanessa Stafford told the court that the accused was charged at Blanchardstown Station just after midday on Saturday. He was given a legal caution and “made no reply” to the charges.

Detective Sergeant Ryan told the court the investigation involved 40 members of An Garda Siochana, 1,500 exhibits, multi-jurisdictional co-operation with Interpol, Europol, police in the UK, and Brazil, and assistance from Spanish and Belgian authorities.

He alleged the accused facilitated organised prostitution throughout the State.

He claimed the two complainants “had to hand over half their earnings” and were moved around to different locations for “sexual exploitation”.

It was alleged the accused leased the properties and was a member of a major criminal organisation.

Detective Sergeant Ryan alleged Mr Ribeiro had a “vital role in organising prostitution in Ireland” for several years and “coerced young vulnerable women into this industry.

He had no legitimate income in Ireland, never filed a tax return or claimed social welfare.

The detective sergeant believed the accused, who has surrendered his passport, would still have the means to flee, and he added that there was no extradition agreement between Ireland and Brazil.

He said the accused arrived in Ireland from France while in transit to London but also had a flight booked from Dublin to Italy for the same day.

He agreed with defence counsel Kevin McCrave that the accused, had the presumption of innocence, and no criminal record or history of bench warrants here.

The accused agreed with Mr McCrave that he would abide by any conditions the court would impose and not apply for new travel documents.

Asked if he would leave the country, he replied: “No, I won’t” and added that he would stay with his ex-wife and “even find my own place if necessary”.

After his application was denied, counsel said the accused was deferring his legal aid application.