whereabouts of Liam's wealth may never be known.
lies far from Irish shores in a labyrinthine maze of tax
havens and off shore companies. His developer associates' secrets,
are also safe.
of these shadowy figures may now be entering NAMA,
their worldwide investment secrets will never be known to the
Irish taxpayer or Revenue authorities.
JUSTINE McCARTHY on the riddle of
Liam Lawlor's extravagant spending, a mere five years after being in
serious financial straits
the coats for starters. There's that navy wool Crombie-style one with
German tailoring and a perceptible cashmere content.
wore it to Dublin Castle a couple of times, nonchalantly shrugging
shoulders to the trailing media cameras.
there's the rich camel number, double-breasted and screaming
don't-mess-with-me cut of a coat Philip Marlowe might have worn.
be lucky to squeeze change out of £1,000 for the pair of them.
take a look at the fleet of cars. The big, dark 97-D BMW 7-Series
that ferried him to the Four Courts.
the other Beamer, the '94 Wexford -reg model.
there's the second Wexford car, the Toyota Carina that dropped him
off at the jailhouse.
might not all be his (or they might be an economy-driven trade-down
from the top-of- the-range Mercs he used to favor),
he has had them at his disposal whenever a rolling news camera
hovered into the picture.
motors come complete with a driver, too. Essential that, since
another court put him off the road for a year and fined him £116
last March for drink-driving.
consider his legal team: a former Attorney General, in the shape of
John Rogers, and the country's leading, near-legendary criminal
lawyer Paddy McEntee.
that, he had Adrian Hardiman on his side as well, until the
chalk-striped legal eagle was whisked off to serve his country onthe
bench of the Supreme Court.
of the most fashionable silks in town, no less. It's a safe bet they
wouldn't come cheap.
total cost for the various trips to the land's two highest courts
stands at around £400,000, the experts reckon.
sum that would inhibit many ordinary citizens from setting foot
inside the hallowed Round Hall,
it was rumoured during the week that a friend of his was footing the
alas, remains no more than a rumour, as the friend in question hasn't
returned our calls yet.
we're at it, don't forget the three mobile phones. Or the Brown
Thomas credit card.
so we don't know about that for sure, but it's unlikely the Tribunal
would have asked him about it
they didn't already know he had one; it's the old lawyer's dictum
that you never ask a question unless you
already know the answer).
then there's the house nay, a veritable mansion, they say. A Georgian
listed building with paddock and tennis court attached,
a pair of forbidding iron gates.
between £1.5 and £2 million, the property industry estimates.
to think that five years ago Liam Moneybags Lawlor was in serious
couldn't get credit as long ago as 1987, his brother-in- law, Noel
Gilsen, told the tribunal.
had been, er, "financially embarrassed", a situation that
couldn't be easy for someone known to splash out £65,000 on a
Mercedes. And as recently as 1996 he was still trying to paying off
November 1992, the Bank of Nova Scotia instituted debt-recovery
proceedings against him for £18,487.
months later, it was the Bank of Ireland's turn, securing a judgement
from the High Court
Liam Lawlor must love that place!) for £49,100. The following month,
Woodchester Bank went to the Circuit Court and got an
order for £23,900.
a year later, in November '94, Irish Nationwide Building Society
applied for an adjournment
Circuit Court proceedings it had taken to repossess his house.
hapless backbencher was obliged to sell off 23 acres of his estate,
which he had been letting
a local farmer for pasture grazing.
acres from that 23 were said to be worth £350,000 after they were
rezoned in February
on a motion tabled by Fianna Fail
councillor Colm McGrath who, it has been reported, got
from Quarryvale developer Owen O'Callaghan.
the sale, in July '95 when Lawlor was Fianna Fail's arts, culture and
heritage spokesman, only made a modest £410,000
its value jumped to nearly £7 million when it was rezoned three
years later) and left him with a tidy necklace of land laid around
his house, Somerton.
he notified a Naas bank manager by letter that the land sale was more
than adequate to discharge all his debts,
later told the Tribunal that he needed a £600,000 loan from the
Czech Republic to satisfy the court judgements.
the fact that he has continuously been a TD for Dublin West since
then, he seems not only to have survived the crisis, but to have
made a whole new fortune to fund a costly lifestyle.
involves frequent flights across the Atlantic to visit his only
grandchild and his three Clongowes- educated sons
works in a bank there and another went over on a golf scholarship).
56-year-old former Dublin hurler and New York marathon runner has one
daughter who works in internet advertising in Dublin.
a mystery how Liam Lawlor can afford the coats and cars, the mobiles
and credit cards, the mansion, the rounds of golf that keep him away
from Tribunal hearings, and the foreign travel on a TD's current
salary of £41,339.
membership of two Oireachtas committees does not entitle him to any
extra allowance either
in the declaration of TDs' interests up to January 2000, he stated
that he had no other occupational income besides his Dail salary.
an earlier declaration, he said he was on a monthly retainer from two
companies and Strategic Consultants, and Rotary M&E Service but
they appear to have ended. In addition, he spent £5,221 trying to
get re-elected to Dublin County Council
1999 and, in the register of political donations for the same year,
he disclosed no donations of more than £500.
the Flood Tribunal is trying to establish the provenance of the £2.6
million lodgement s
has so far failed to identify from his £4.5 million tally between 18
separate bank accounts over a period of 17 years.
Lawlor made his first fortune nearly three decades ago with a cold
store refrigeration company he founded in Rathcoole,
Dublin, and which he sold to the international conglomerate, Hall
gave him the entree to Larry Goodman, which led to a directorship of
Food Industries and his resignation of the Oireachtas
on State Bodies over a conflict of interest relating to Irish Sugar.
evidence culled from his financial history strongly suggests that his
first fortune is long since blown.
has had more monetary ups and downs than a bouncy castle at a party
for hyperactive kids
it may be just the sort of stress graph that will help him withstand
the privations of prison life.
McCabe, a political friend in Lucan for the past 20 years, talked to
the TD on Wednesday morning, before he set out for Mountjoy, and
found him in philosophical mood.
just something he feels he has to get through," reports the
ship's captain with the
of Irish Lights.
seems to take it on the chin. He just wants to put it behind him."
somebody else who has a peripheral role in the denouement of Liam
Lawlor believes that the Tribunal will eventually break him.
if he doesn't co-operate when he gets out next week, he will . . .
eventually," this man predicts.
points to Frank Dunlop, who famously described his own anatomical
parts as "balls of iron and a spine of steel",
to leave the Tribunal a visibly shrunken man.
Lawlor has four more nights, including tonight, of his prison
sentence to serve.
coincidence, he will walk free next Wednesday, the same day the
Supreme Court is due to deliver its ruling
the refusal of solicitor Stephen Miley to name the beneficial owners
of Jackson Way Properties, on the grounds of legal privilege.
offshore company settled a legal wrangle with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown
Council over the
motorway in 1999, a year after the local authority had rezoned
the company's 106 acres in Carrickmines to industrial use.
business people who are reputedly associated with Liam Lawlor have
also been mentioned in
with the south Dublin lands.
owner and former builder Jim Kennedy, in whose Westmoreland Street
premises Frank Dunlop received large amounts of money, is reported to
have previously owned the site.
The reclusive multi millionaire Jim Kennedy ,former
slot machine,gambling arcade owner -and once Irish citizen, is now
tax exiled in the Isle of Man.
Jim has been flushed out
of hiding because the CAB Criminal Assets Bureau in Ireland have
frozen some 50 million Euros worth of rezoned land in Carrickmines
which is almost certainly his.
he arrived in Ireland to
try and reclaim it in October 2010,and was held for questioning
for a brief period
by the police but feigning illness in
custody he was removed to hospital for examination.
the illness will be in his pocket an the land confiscated.
still if he spent a term in an Irish jail (although that is a remote
and highly unlikely
possibility!) Ireland is not a country noted
jailing white collar criminals or fraudsters of any kind.
has been separately reported that John Caldwell, the managing partner
of Binchy's law firm,
has acted for Jim Kennedy in the past, has an interest in Jackson
Way. Binchy's was in the news last year when it was claimed that
solicitor/client phone conversations dealing with th McBrearty
murder case in Donegal were being tapped by the gardai.
coincidence, Lawlor's current solicitor, Brian Delahunty, who runs
his own practice in Phibsboro, began his career with Binchy's.
brother, Ray Delahunt, was the juniour counsel on Lawlor's side in
the contempt proceedings.
Lawlor's continued membership of Dail Eireann might be the least of
his problems when he gets his liberty back next week.
his senior counsel hinted strongly in the High Court that the
politician would be able to explain £1.5 million of the mystery £2.5
million, there can be no quick fix to his dilemma. If he starts
co-operating immediately, he can
expect to remain in the witness box at the castle for a long time to
incumbent of witness boxes within the fortress, Charlie Haughey, had
a habit of paying his minions compliments, which came to be the
scourge of them.
did it when he trumpeted Bertie Ahern's cunning. In the case of
Liam Lawlor, his immortal
were: "If you want something done, ask Liam."
are some who would agree. But Fergus Flood wouldn't be one of them.