CAB target Marcus Sweeney wanted to build an online empire centered around a sex toy store
Criminal Assets Bureau target Marcus Sweeney wanted to build an online empire centered around an internet sex toy store.
weeney believed the sex shop he wanted to open during the pandemic had the potential to generate $10,000 a month in profit.
By 4 September 2021 the company had progressed to the point where he and a business partner officially registered “Sex Health Toys” as a company name with the Irish Companies Office.
But Sweeney’s partner in the doomed project reveals today how their plans collapsed – after payment providers refused to work with them and the former socialite failed to raise €25,000 to fund a “guerrilla” marketing campaign.
Sweeney’s business partner said he was shocked by the claims made in the High Court against Sweeney that he was “a master of organized crime”.
“I don’t read newspapers, so I had no idea about it,” he said.
“I promote websites online.
“He came to me through a commercial I did. We talked on the phone and he had good ideas I thought.
“So we bought an internet domain (address) for the adult store. I have developers making the stores, so I paid for one of the stores – it didn’t cost me much – on the basis that, as he said, it would put over €25,000 into marketing.
“He talked about guerrilla marketing and stuff like that. So I thought, ‘Fine. If you do the marketing, I’ll take care of ordering all the products.
“But he never did and it never got off the ground.
“And just recently, after paying the monthly fees on the site for about a year, I contacted him to bill for the fees and told him I wanted to sell the site.
“But I never found a buyer for the site, I received inquiries but I never found a buyer. It was his idea and it should have gone well.”
The businessmen continued, “He (Sweeney) had a lot of different ideas.
“So at the time I sent him to some developers in Dublin who were selling a website.
“And he talked about integrating all of their websites into one company and selling the company at a later date.”
The businessman said interaction with Sweeney was so high that he felt they had almost become friends and they met in person to discuss the venture at Blanchardstown’s Musashi restaurant.
“He had charm and he was very friendly – it felt like we were buddies,” he said.
“He told me he was very close (to a high profile female influencer) and she had a huge social presence that he could promote to this store.
“But he didn’t just want to buy this store.
“He came up with the idea that we could increase our brand and value by connecting other businesses to this one.”
Such was the businessman’s confidence in Sweeney that he decided to start the business with him “as a partner”.
“I paid the €20 fee for company name registration.
“And he convinced me to buy seven or eight more domains in the area because his vision was that the value of those domains would increase with the success of our shop.
“I entertained him – I bought the domains.”
According to Garda, and at the same time the businessman sat down for sushi in Dublin with the former Celtic Tigers socialite, Sweeney had already faced death threats from drug dealers over failed investments.
He was served with a Garda Information Message (GIM) in 2020 – a form officers give to people when they receive credible information that there is an imminent threat to their life.
Sweeney is believed to have been threatened after a money-laundering plot went awry on behalf of criminals linked to The Family – thought to be Ireland’s largest heroin-dealing mob.
Garda believes Sweeney, founder and director of Evergreen Wealth Management, and another business partner held a meeting with some of the firm’s investors in early 2020 about the debt.
This was done in her CAB case, according to Garda, to “reduce the threats to her person and property.”
The deal was only for certain investors, one of whom was convicted heroin dealer Brian Grendon.
But Sweeney’s partner in the sex shop project says he didn’t know about it.
“What would make our store different was that they were waiting for €50,000 from a land sale and wanted to invest €25,000 in guerrilla marketing,” he said.
“So that would be street marketing with sexy girls promoting the products.
“We spoke of 10,000 euros a month plus profit.”
When asked why the company failed, the businessman said one of the main difficulties was finding a payment processor for the site.
“That was the big problem. We couldn’t find anyone to take the payments.
When asked what happened to the promised 25,000 euros in marketing money, the entrepreneur replied: “Nothing.
“We didn’t have a fight or anything, I could call him right now but I just gave it up.”
Details of Sweeney’s ties to organized crime were revealed in the Supreme Court last month, with Justice Alexander Owens describing the former restaurateur as “at the peak of his powers” in organized crime.
He made the comments as he ruled on a Criminal Assets Bureau (C) application seeking to confiscate Co Meath estates linked to Sweeney’s company EWM (Evergreen Wealth Management) Property Holdings Limited as proceeds of crime regard.
Allegedly convicted heroin dealer Brian Grendon of Rowlagh Park, Clondalkin, Dublin invested €20,000 in Evergreen in 2015 through his company BG Autos.
The office said it suspects Grendon invested significantly larger amounts of cash in Evergreen. Grendon was not a party to the CAB proceedings.
In August 2019, a Garda detective observed Sweeney meeting up with Grendon in the parking lot of the Liffey Valley Shopping Center.
Immediately thereafter, Sweeney met with Kuldip Singh of Birmingham and Turkish national Ali Adnan Duran, both of whom were known at the time to be involved in drug trafficking.
When garda searched the B&B room where the couple was staying in Saggart, Co Dublin, they found 14 half-kilo blocks of heroin with a street value of just under €1million.
All three were arrested and while Sweeney was later released without charge, Singh was later sentenced to four years and Duran to nine years in prison.
Sweeney’s partner in the failed internet sex shop startup said he was stunned by the allegations being made against the former restaurateur in court.
“It’s a bit amusing but also scary to find out you’ve been with someone like that.
“When I met him, I read all about him and his girlfriend (model Katy French) and what happened during the Celtic Tiger.”
A celebrated socialite during the Celtic Tiger era, Sweeney had a notoriously tumultuous relationship with model Katy French.
That relationship ended in 2007 when he walked into his Il Pomo D’oro restaurant on South William Street in Dublin city center and she posed for photos in lingerie.
Katy later tragically died of a cocaine overdose.
“I’ve agreed with him when he’s in doubt,” said the businessman, “and to be honest I’m just trying to make a few pounds online.
“I didn’t want to be best mate,” he added.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/cab-target-marcus-sweeney-wanted-to-build-online-empire-centred-around-sex-toy-shop-42330690.html CAB target Marcus Sweeney wanted to build an online empire centered around a sex toy store