Accused in money laundering case is 'not Walter Mitty'

Leitrim Observer reporter


Leitrim Observer reporter


Accused in money laundering case is 'not Walter Mitty'

The trial continues today

The trial of a former psychic charged with money laundering has heard the accused “is not Walter Mitty” and that he created fake documents that “conned real people out of real money in real life”.

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 jury has heard that Mr Gold represented himself as a highly qualified financier, merchant banker or financial consultant.

In a closing speech to the jury Mr Gold's defence counsel said that the four Irish men who the State allege Mr Gold “conned” were among many others who paid for the services of Mr Gold and that these four failing to receive a loan was not a crime.

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 eleventh day of evidence before the jury, Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, said in his closing speech that there was no doubt Mr Gold operated the companies Anglo Irish Global Ltd, Belgravia Consultants Ltd, Elite Bank Group and Irish Nationwide Bank.

Mr Staines said that Irish Nationwide Bank is not a bank. He said that the jury had heard evidence it was not authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland and that Mr Gold described it as being a “virtual bank”.

He said it was the prosecution's case that Mr Gold was in possession of what purported to be bank drafts from Irish Nationwide Bank and that they were not in fact bank drafts. He said Mr Gold admitted using false documents to open a bank account and to purchase a computer.

Mr Staines said it might be submitted that this is “Walter Mitty” or “fantasy” stuff. He said that “Simon Gold is not Walter Mitty” and that these were fake documents created by Mr Gold that “conned real people out of real money in real life”.

He said it was the prosecution case that in 2012 Mr Gold stole the money of Danish businessman Kurt Lauridsen and then laundered the money. He said Mr Gold admitted being in possession of two tranches of €800,000 which was Mr Lauridsen's money.

Mr Staines said that two Irish men in 2011 transferred €28,000 and £30,000 respectively into the account of Belgravia Consultants Ltd controlled by Mr Gold. He said that two other Irish men in 2011 both transferred £10,000 into the account of Anglo Irish Global Ltd.

He said it was the prosecution's case that the accused conned the four Irish men and Mr Lauridsen. Concluding his speech, he told the jury that “he won't con you”.

Dominic McGinn SC, defending, said in his closing speech it was obvious that Mr Gold was “a talker, that he said a lot of things.

Mr McGinn said that there were no complaints from any of the men and they did not go to gardaí to say they had been “ripped off”. He said that all of the accounts connected to his client were being operated completely normally by the banks.

He suggested that a careful analytical reading of all the material shows that the theft of Mr Lauridsen's money was by his lawyer Dr Bodo Baars as he received a transfer of €335,000 from this money. He said there was very little evidence that Mr Gold knew what was going on.

Mr McGinn said it appeared that Mr Gold was being used as much as Mr Lauridsen as he was the one who ended up “carrying the can” because the account which the funds were transferred to was linked to him.

He said if his client was the “criminal mastermind” that the prosecution alleged then surely it would not have been outside his wit to use a bank account that was not connected to him.

He said the jury had heard evidence that an ESB bill was not genuine and that Mr Gold accepted in interview it was false. He said that they could convict his client of this offence and if that was as far as they went, he did not think even Mr Gold would complain.

The trial continues today before Judge Nolan and a jury.