Belfast Telegraph

Freed tycoon Kevin McGeever sought by police forces around world

By David McKittrick

The extraordinary story of the missing property tycoon who was found wandering barefoot down a remote road with “thief” carved into his forehead made headlines around the world.

But now Kevin McGeever's account of his eight-month ordeal is coming under scrutiny, as revelations about the Irish businessman's colourful past raise questions about the circumstances of his kidnapping.

Mr McGeever (68) had previously been in trouble with Interpol, the FBI and police in Germany and Abu Dhabi, it emerged yesterday.

He was once sought for questioning in the US where the FBI wanted to interview him in connection with a suspected $4m (£2.5m) fraud.

Abu Dhabi authorities attempted to extradite him from Germany in connection with another suspected fraud involving more than £500,000.

In Ireland, meanwhile, there are complaints from individuals about property deals in Abu Dhabi, with allegations that Mr McGeever did not deliver on the sales of apartments so that they lost money in dealings with him.

The revelations throw new light on his dramatic account of spending eight months in the hands of kidnappers. He said they threatened his life, warning him he’d be killed unless a ransom was paid.

Two weeks ago he was found wandering on a lonely Leitrim road, bedraggled, with a lengthy beard and long fingernails.

He had experienced acute weight loss and a woman who encountered him described him as “just skin and bones”.

Mr McGeever has since been in hospital receiving treatment for malnutrition and dehydration.

He has yet to provide gardai with a full statement of what happened over the past eight months.

He has not spoken to the media but his brother Brendan said in an interview that his captors never spoke and kept their faces covered.

He said: “They handed him notes to look at, saying ‘You have two more days to live'. They put a gun to his forehead once and he said, ‘Do it now, do it now, I have made my peace with my God'.”

Brendan McGeever said his brother had described media speculation about Russian mafia involvement in his kidnapping as “nonsense”. He said family members were not at first worried as he often spent months abroad.

Given his chequered past, Mr McGeever's version of events is now prompting questions.

He was on Interpol “watch lists” since 2003 at the request of the FBI in connection with fraud investigations. Since 2009 he has been involved in legal proceedings against his company in Ireland.

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