Court told defendant is living in a ‘modest’ home and is not leading flash lifestyle
AN UNEMPLOYED father-of-four who is in receipt of Housing Assistance Payments has appeared in court accused of laundering almost €700,000 in cash over a two year period.
Anayo Okezie, 37, who has an address at Cois Luachra, Dooradoyle faces three charges under the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010.
The defendant, who is originally from Nigeria, was arrested and charged on Tuesday morning following a garda investigation which has been onoing for several years.
The charges before Limerick District Court, which are to proceed on indictment, relate to three different alleged bank accounts in Limerick which were held by Mr Okezie on dates between May 11, 2015 and June 30, 2017.
Opposing bail, Detective Garda Fiona O’Connell of Roxboro Road garda station said it will be alleged a combined total of more than €691,000 passed through the three accounts with some of the money being transferred to different locations around the World.
She told Judge Mary Cashin the accounts were empty when gardai gained access to them in 2017 and that they have been unable to establish where the money is.
The accounts which were in Mr Okezie’s name were opened at Ulster Bank O’Connell Street, Limerick; Permanent TSB, Dooradoyle, Limerick and AIB, O’Connell Street, Limerick.
Detective Garda O’Connell said just over €110,000 passed through the Ulster Bank account in the form of 31 lodgments and 33 withdrawals.
More than €433,000 passed through the AIB account in 116 separate transactions while there were 59 transactions recorded on the PTSB account relating to just over €147,000.
She said she had concerns the defendant represents a flight risk and would flee the jurisdiction if released.
The detective told Sergeant Donal Cronin the amount of money involved was a concern as was the fact that Mr Okezie “is not known to the Revenue Commissioners in any shape or form”.
Solicitor Tom Kiely said his client is living with his partner in a “modest three-bed semi detached home” and that he is not leading a flash lifestyle.
He said Mr Okezie, who suffers from poor health, has remained in Limerick despite knowing about the garda investigation for almost two years.
Seeking bail, he submitted it was “complete nonsense” to suggest his client would flee the jurisdiction.
He said the suggestion his client knows where the money is was also a “red herring” which should be ignored.
Granting bail, Judge Cashin said she did not consider the objection to be sufficient enough in the circumstances.
The matter has been adjourned to facilitate the preparation of a book of evidence.