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Senior Kinahan gang member, his wife and mistress laundered cash through Spanish property and a wedding

Declan ‘Mr Nobody’ Brady, his wife Deirdre Brady and his mistress Erika Lukacs appeared at the Special Criminal Court today.

Cala D'Or, Majorca where Declan Brady had laundered the Kinahan money in property.
Cala D'Or, Majorca where Declan Brady had laundered the Kinahan money in property.
Image: Shutterstock/Mitya-africa

SENIOR KINAHAN CARTEL lieutenant Declan Brady, his wife and his mistress laundered approximately €1.3 million in crime cash through transfers that included mortgage payments on a Spanish holiday property, a wedding at Druid’s Glen and transfers to other gang members, the Special Criminal Court heard today.

The court heard that a bar tab and room bills for €27,000 from the wedding were paid for in cash, while both Brady and his wife declared no income to the Revenue over the period in question.

The non-jury court heard during today’s sentence hearing that Brady (55), who is known as ‘Mr Nobody’ had laundered €318,654 in crime cash through multiple bank accounts, his wife Deirdre Brady (53) had laundered €770,499 and another woman Erika Lukacs (37), who was described today as Brady’s “mistress”, had laundered €196,864.

Deirdre Brady, the mother of Declan Brady’s three adult children, transferred over €140,000 in organised crime cash to the Spanish bank account of Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh over a five-year period, the court heard.

She also paid another €3,000 a month to her husband’s Spanish mortgage account on a property in Cala D’Or in Majorca, totalling over €138,000 between 2014 and 2016. The property has since been repossessed by the bank in Spain.

The three-judge court was also told that Declan and Mrs Brady also paid €66,301 to the Druids Glen Hotel in Co Wicklow for the wedding of a family member, €27,265 of which was paid in cash for bar and room bills.

Counsel for Mrs Brady, Michael Bowman SC, said his client was “acting blind” and “in complete ignorance” when she paid the rent on a property, which her husband had shared with his “mistress”.

Lawyers for Declan Brady, who pleaded guilty last April at the Special Criminal Court to hiding over a quarter of a million euro in crime cash in the attic of a Kildare address, said that their client had taken responsibility for his own actions and expressed “profound regret” that but for him taking possession of the money, his two co-accused would not find themselves before the court.

Declan Brady

Brady, the court heard, was taking orders from “more sinister forces based abroad”, which could not be lightly disregarded.

The Special Criminal Court also heard today that all three accused have since paid money to the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

Cartel lieutenant Brady is already serving a 11.5-year jail term imposed by the same court in July 2019, after he admitted supervising a firearms arsenal including an assault rifle and thousands of rounds of ammunition that had been stashed in a Dublin business park.

On 23 April last, Brady with an address at The Park, Wolstan Abbey, Celbridge, Co Kildare pleaded guilty to concealing cash to the value of €268,940 in the attic of The Dairy, Rathasker Road, Naas, Co Kildare, on 24 January 2017.

Brady had been charged in February with a total of 16 non-scheduled offences within the State between 1 January 2012 and 24 January 2017, inclusive. All the charges come under Section 7 of Criminal Justice Act 2010 and relate to money laundering and terrorist financing within the State.

The two co-accused

On 13 April, Brady’s wife, Deirdre Brady and Lukacs pleaded guilty at the Special Criminal Court to two crime cash laundering offences. Mrs Brady and Lukacs were originally charged with a total of 52 money laundering offences when they first came before the court in February. Mrs Brady was charged with 36 non-scheduled offences and Lukacs was charged with 16 non-scheduled offences.

Mrs Brady, of The Bailey, Castlefarm, Naas, Co Kildare pleaded guilty to concealing or disguising the true nature or source of money credited to a Permanent TSB Account on various dates between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2014, within the State, knowing or believing or being reckless as to whether the property, in the names of Declan Brady and Deirdre Brady, was the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Lukacs, with an address at Lakelands, Naas, Co Kildare, admitted to concealing or disguising the true nature or source of money credited to an Allied Irish Bank account on various dates between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2012, within the State, knowing or believing or being reckless as to whether the property, in the name of Erika Lukacs, was the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Last April, Fiona Murphy SC, prosecuting, told the court that there would be additional pleas required from the three individuals when they appeared before the court for their sentence hearing.

Brady pleaded guilty today to seven further crime cash laundering offences, Mrs Brady admitted to 17 more crime cash laundering offences, and Lukacs pleaded guilty to five more money laundering offences.

Garda surveillance

At today’s sentence hearing, Detective Sergeant Tom Anderson, of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, told Fiona Murphy SC, prosecuting, that as a result of confidential information targeting organised crime, Gardaí “mounted a surveillance operation” targeting certain individuals at a commercial premises in Greenogue, Rathcoole, Dublin 24.

Det Sgt Anderson said gardaí observed two men [Jonathan Harding and James Walsh] leaving the premises at the business park while a search was being carried out and a third man [Brady] was found inside. The witness said that gardaí seized 15 firearms, including a Kalashnikov, a submachine gun, and a semi-automatic weapon that were found alongside a device to manufacture vehicle registrations.

A stolen forklift and a mobile tracking device were also found.

In July 2019 Brady, who was tasked by senior criminal figures abroad to supervise the weapons cache, was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years imprisonment after pleading guilty to possession of the weapons.

Searches

During the investigation, Gardaí obtained a warrant to search Brady’s home address on 24 January 2017. Upon entering the house at Wolstan Abbey, Mrs Brady was present and gardaí seized monies and bank documents.

When questioned, Det Sgt Anderson said Mrs Brady could not give a definitive answer as to the origin of the money and said she only had sole access to her bank accounts.

A forensic analysis of Mrs Brady’s bank accounts showed that she had transferred money to two Spanish bank accounts and Thomas Kavanagh, a senior figure within organised crime, was the beneficiary of one of these bank accounts, he said.

On the same day, gardaí obtained a warrant to search The Dairy at Rathasker Road in Naas as they believed Brady was residing at that address with his girlfriend, Hungarian national Lukacs. Det Sgt Anderson said Brady and Lukacs had had a baby girl together in October 2016.

Upon searching the property, gardaí located a total of €250,000 in cash that had been spread across a bread bin on top of a fridge, a shoebox, a laptop bag and a hold-all bag in an attic. They also discovered documents for multiple bank accounts.

The detective said that Brady had declared “no gross income” to Revenue for four years and had five bank accounts, three of which he jointly held with his wife while another was a personal loan account.

The court heard that Mrs Brady had shared a joint mortgage account with her husband and she had made 21 individual cash lodgements to him totalling €89,000 between 2014 and 2017.

Det Sgt Anderson explained that Mrs Brady’s Ulster Bank account showed cash lodgements in amounts of €3,000 were made by her to a Spanish account each month. “Declan was the beneficiary and it was used to pay his Spanish mortgage. The amount of money that went into it was €138,000,” he said.

The witness said a close family member of Declan Brady got married at Druids Glen in May 2015 and the wedding cost €66,301. “A sum of the wedding bill was paid in cash including a bar tab for €27,000. These payments don’t tie back to Declan Brady’s account, indicating they came from elsewhere,” he said, adding that all the monies were completely out of proportion from his declared income.

Brady was arrested at Mountjoy Prison for the offence of money laundering and interviewed twice at Clondalkin Garda Station.

Monthly cash lodgements

Det Sgt Anderson described Mrs Brady as a “housewife and homemaker”, who had eight bank accounts between 2012 and 2017, of which four accounts were jointly held with her husband.

Her tax records showed that she had declared no income to the Revenue in that period and an analysis of her bank account showed lodgements of €690,000, he said.

The witness said monthly cash lodgements totalling €144,000 had been transferred by Mrs Brady to the Spanish account of Thomas Kavanagh over five years.

Kavanagh (52), a major player in the Kinahan cartel, pleaded guilty last year to a series of serious drug and firearms offences at a court in England. He is currently in custody in the UK awaiting sentencing.

Mrs Brady had paid €36,000 towards the wedding at Druids Glen between March and May 2015. “All Revenue records confirmed that all monies were completely out of proportion,” said the detective.

Mrs Brady, who has no previous convictions, was arrested in Leixlip for the offence of money laundering on 1 August 2018.

Cash in a Kildare attic

Referring to Lukacs, Det Sgt Anderson said she operated four AIB bank accounts between 2012 and 2016 and one of these was a joint account with Brady. She had lodgements totalling €381,319 and Revenue records showed she had filed income tax returns in 2010 and 2015. She was also in receipt of regular child benefit for €140 and her declared income in 2016 was €34,245.

He said that gardaí had no reason to believe that Lukacs had any knowledge of the cash found in The Dairy, where she resided and Mr Brady had accepted responsibility for this. She was arrested on 3 July 2018 for the offence of money laundering and interviewed twice by gardaí, where she denied any knowledge of cash in her attic or house. She has no previous convictions.

The court was told that all three have paid money to the Criminal Assets Bureau. Declan and Mrs Brady were assessed as owing €622,929 and owe a balance of €173,649.

They have sold three of their properties, including a house in Firhouse in Dublin, another house in Wolstan Abbey and an apartment in Tavira in Portugal to pay over €449,00. The mortgage on their other apartment in Cala D’Or in Majorca had not been paid in some time and has been repossessed by the bank in Spain.

Lukacs settled her debts with CAB for €71,327.

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Evidence in court

Under cross-examination, Det Sgt Anderson agreed with Michael O’Higgins SC, defending Brady, that his client and his wife have been “hit hard in the pocket” in relation to the sums of money reimbursed to the State in terms of their Revenue obligations.

The detective also agreed that Brady’s role in the operation was deemed more serious or higher than his two co-accused as he was taking orders from “more sinister forces based abroad”. He further agreed that individuals were giving orders and these instructions or directions could not be lightly disregarded.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt interjected saying: “Those people deny they have anything to do with anything of this sort at all.”

The lawyer put it to the witness that his client regretted getting involved with these people, that his two co-accused would not be involved but for his actions and Brady had not sought to hide behind this or spread the blame. Det Sgt Anderson agreed that this was the case.

Michael Bowman SC, defending Mrs Brady, said that she married Declan Brady in 1987 and they purchased their first family home in Firhouse with a gift of £10,000 from her father, with a mortgage of £17,000 on the balance. Counsel said there was no suggestion of criminality when his client had married him and they “set up home” and had three children before moving to Celbridge in 2001. The court heard she had lost the entire benefit of her first home, with the proceeds going to CAB.

Under cross-examination, Det Sgt Anderson agreed that Mrs Brady was acting under the instructions and direction of her husband and would have had “no hand, act or part” in where the funds were coming from. Mr Bowman said that the movements of the funds were not benefiting Mrs Brady “in terms of going out of the country” and instead her husband was benefiting and she was just making the payments by serving two mortgage accounts.

Counsel also put it to the detective that his client did not live an ostentatious lifestyle and was committed to her family. “The mortgage accounts for the properties are benefiting from the cash payments to those accounts,” he replied.

“Mrs Brady did not have a hoard of jewellery when gardaí arrived, she wasn’t bedecked in Gucci and Armani,” said Mr Bowman, adding that there was no suggestion of shopping trips abroad to European capital cities.

Counsel said his client was making payments “unbeknownst to herself” in relation to a rented property her husband shared with his girlfriend.

Mr Bowman further put it to the witness that she never owned a car and lived modestly as a housewife. In reply, the detective said: “If she benefitted from cash lodgements to her account that was for the mortgage of those properties.”

Mr Justice Hunt asked Mr Bowman where did Mrs Brady think “this manna from heaven” was coming from. Counsel said it was “an omission as far as anything else” and Brady did not display such behaviour when they had originally got married.

A child with a severe illness

Bernard Condon SC, for Lukacs, said she came to Ireland from Hungary in 2007 and began working in a petrol station, where she met Brady and they developed a relationship, which led to the birth of a child.

The now four-year-old child has a very severe illness and cannot process proteins, he said. He submitted that his client would not be in court today if it wasn’t for Brady and had “no involvement in the generation of these funds”. 

In mitigation, Mr Condon said Lukacs was her child’s full-time carer and is in receipt of social welfare. He asked the court to impose a non-custodial sentence as she had never been “in trouble” before.

Mr Bowman, for Mrs Brady, said her three children have their own psychiatric difficulties and she was living a modest lifestyle as a grandmother of seven and not off the “ill-gotten gains of others”.

When asked by Mr Justice Hunt what she thought she was doing when she paid a mortgage for someone else in Spain, the barrister said she was making a payment “in complete ignorance”. “She didn’t know she was paying for him and his mistress and she was acting blind,” he added.

Another factor in mitigation, he said, was that Mrs Brady was acting “on direction” as to how the money was to be dispersed and she had not chosen this life for herself and would forever be stigmatised by association with a criminal enterprise.

Mr O’Higgins submitted to the court that his client had taken responsibility for his own actions and had expressed “profound regret” and shame that his actions had brought two other people before the court. He asked the court to give Brady as lenient a sentence as possible.

Mr Justice Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh, remanded Brady in custody until 30 July, when he will be sentenced. The two women were remanded on continuing bail until that date.

Cash in a bread bin

On 19 February last, Brady was also charged with concealing cash to the value of €2,000 and £10,000 in a bread-bin on the same date and at the same location, knowing or believing or being reckless as to whether the property was the proceeds of crime.

He was further charged with concealing, disguising, converting, transferring, handling, acquiring, possessing or using money credited to Ulster Bank Account and Permanent TSB, in the names of Declan Brady and wife Deirdre Brady, on various dates between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2016, within the State, knowing or believing or being reckless as to whether the property was the proceeds of criminal conduct.

In July 2019, Declan Brady pleaded guilty at the non-jury court to possessing nine revolvers, four semi-automatic pistols, a submachine gun, an assault rifle and 1,355 rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances at a fake business premises with an address at Unit 52, Block 503, Grants Drive, Greenogue Business Park, Rathcoole, Co Dublin, on 24 January 2017.

About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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