MORE than a year on, gardai are still on the look-out for Limerick businessman John Shee, who is believed to have fled the country as a €24m judgment is pending against him.
Widely believed to be living in the south of France, local sources told the Limerick Leader that Mr Shee was unable to attend a family wedding recently, and sent a message of congratulations in his absentia.
Garda sources said enquiries are still ongoing as to his whereabouts, and he is still commanded by the courts to appear before them.
However, the order of attachment is a civil matter rather than a criminal case, somewhat limiting the powers of the gardai.
His family also can’t be compelled to talk to gardai regarding his current location.
“The case is periodically refreshed, and attempts to find him, alongside our international partners, are ongoing,” said a garda source.
The examination of his financial affairs by the High Court was sought arising from a failure by Mr Shee and others to make repayments under a €24m judgment obtained against them in March 2011. The judgment related to unpaid loans advanced by Allied Irish Banks and was later transferred to Nama.
Mr Shee, an accountant who worked with Grant Thornton and a director of over 20 companies including Mowlam Healthcare, one of the largest healthcare providers in the country, transferred the family home in the city’s South Circular Road and an apartment in Ballsbridge to his wife in 2009.
Nama appointed a receiver to one of his main companies, Cracken Properties, in 2012, among eight firms; others have been dissolved.
Land also was seized in Newcastle West and Kilfrush in Clare by Nama under the company’s assets.
Mr Shee was also among a consortium intent on developing Tinerana house in Clare, but the €100m plans failed to go ahead after being turned down by An Bord Pleanala. The property was bought for a fraction of the price by Euromillions winner Dolores McNamara.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly previously noted at the Commercial Court that there appeared to be “a kind of conspiracy of silence” concerning Mr Shee’s whereabouts and it appeared there was very little more that gardai could do in this matter of civil contempt.
At that time, the judge said he would leave in the court’s order directing gardai to continue efforts to find and arrest Mr Shee for the purposes of bringing him before the court to explain why he should not be jailed for contempt of an order requiring him to provide a sworn statement of his assets and liabilities.