Dubai: When a Dubai property developer turned up in Ireland eight months after he claimed he was kidnapped by Russian gangsters, it appeared too good to be true.
It was. Kevin McGeever, Irish police say, made the whole kidnap saga up.
According to reports, McGeever, 68, is the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by Dubai Police through Interpol over his involvement in a multimillion property investment scheme in Dubai that has left scores of investors on the hook with little more than deposit receipts to show for their funds.
And Irish police now say that McGeever — whose company, KMM, bilked investors over a 17-storey tower in Sports City that’s just an empty shell — staged his own kidnapping to evade angry creditors in Ireland, Britain and Dubai.
At the height of the construction boom, KMM ran property investment seminars across Britain and Ireland to get investors to buy and build property in the emirate. As the credit crunch took hold, however, KMM turned insolvent, progress on construction halted and investors had noting to fall back on.
Last May, McGeever disappeared. There was no ransom note and no one seemed to know where he was.
In late January on a desolate road in a remote part of north-western Ireland, a couple found McGeever wandering in a stupor. He was dishevelled and disorientated and 30 kilograms lighter than when he disappeared. The word ‘thief’ had been written across his forehead in heavy marker.
As he recovered in hospital, McGeever told a tale of spending eight months kept in a steel shipping container with no contact with the outside world. He said his kidnappers were Russian gangsters to whom he owed money over his property dealings in Dubai, who demanded repayment.
But now police in the Republic of Ireland say that McGeever’s order was just that — a big fat tale. Garda Siochana, the Irish police force, have charged McGeever with wasting their resources and have referred the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions. He faces a maximum sentence of five years if convicted.
At the weekend, McGeever admitted to staging the entire episode. Instead of being held in a container, he rented an isolated cottage, cut off contacts with everyone, shed weight and grew his hair. He wrote ‘thief’ across his own forehead and pretended to be dazed and confused when found.
The clue that tipped the Garda to his crime? There was no smell off him when he was found, police say.