The trial of a former psychic charged with money laundering has heard a Danish businessman transferred €1.6 million into a bank account which was subsequently frozen.
Simon Gold (54), with an address of Augharan, Aughavas, Co. Leitrim, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 22 charges including money laundering, theft, deception and control of false instruments on dates between January 1, 2010 and October 22, 2012.
The trial has heard that Mr Gold accepted he had used the names Simon Gold, Simon Gould, Simon Magnier and Niall O'Donoghue. The trial has also heard Mr Gold acknowledged he is responsible for an Ulster Bank account in the name of Anglo Irish Global Ltd.
On the seventh day of evidence before the jury, Kurt Lauridsen told Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, that he started a business in Denmark producing “sliding wardrobes” which turned out to be “a great success”.
Mr Lauridsen said he sold part of the company in 2007 for €14 million and that he wanted to invest some of the money in a green energy project. He said he met with Dr Bodo Baars, a lawyer based in Hamburg, who told him about an investment opportunity.
He said Dr Baars told him he had to invest €1.6 million in order to receive a 25% return every month for a 12-month period. He said he was told the money would be put into a custodial bank account and that he and Dr Baars would have to sign before the money could be transferred out.
Mr Lauridsen said it was his understanding that if the investment failed, “I would get my money back.” He said Dr Baars told him that Anglo Irish Global Ltd were an investment bank in Ireland.
He said he transferred the money in two tranches of €800,000 into what he thought was a custodial bank account in Ulster Bank in Dublin in October 2012. He said he was later contacted by gardaí and informed that the account had been frozen.
Mr Lauridsen said he never gave any instructions for anyone to transfer any money out of the Ulster Bank account. He said he had not gotten any of the money back.
Dominic McGinn SC, defending, asked Mr Lauridsen if he was aware that €335,000 of this money had been transferred to Dr Baars. Mr Lauridsen said he was aware and that he did not authorise that this money would be transferred to him.
Mr Lauridsen agreed with Mr McGinn that he was in a difficult position as he was not a banker himself and that he was relying on Dr Baars to tell him the truth. He said he had only heard about Mr Gold from Dr Baars and that he never met him in person.
Earlier in the trial, Jody Ryan, a quarry owner from Limerick, told Mr Staines that he paid £10,000 in order to secure a loan from Simon Magnier. The jury has heard that Mr Ryan said “not a euro” of the loan ever came through and that Simon Magnier became difficult to contact afterwards.
Mr McGinn suggested to Mr Ryan that people's memories sometimes play tricks on them and that contact between him and Simon Magnier was fairly frequent after the transfer. Mr Ryan answered that his memory was that it was hard to get through to Simon Magnier afterwards.
The trial continues tomorrow Tuesday, May 27 before Judge Nolan and a jury.