A MAN accused of murdering his wife on a cruise ship claims she was behind a scheme to forge documents to get a mortgage.
Aniel Belling (49) was sentenced to three and a half years of probation for what the judge called “classic white-collar crime”.
Belling, 49, of Kilkee House, Clarke Village, Coolock, Dublin 17, pleaded guilty on trial day to charging the Bank of Ireland on April 13.
On five other occasions between July 1, 2013 and January 27, 2015, Belling used false documents to try to apply for credit, the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.
Separately, Belling is on trial in Italy for murdering his wife and throwing her body into the sea.
Prosecutors accuse the German-born father of three of killing his wife, Chinese citizen Xing Li (38), on a Mediterranean cruise in 2017.
However, Mr Belling has claimed that she left the ship of her own accord.
Yesterday, Judge Martin Nolan of the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court delivered his verdict in the false documentation case.
The judge said that while Belling said his wife was the driving force behind the plan, he would take that statement “with a pinch of salt.”
Judge Nolan said that Belling’s wife, who is the mother of his children, has disappeared and “I have to consider locking up this man.” Judge Nolan said he reluctantly chose not to send Belling to jail. He sentenced him to three and a half years, but suspended them entirely.
Detective Garda Niamh Seberry told prosecutors Garrett McCormack BL that Belling used forged documents, including a German ID card with a false date of birth, payslips that overstated his salary by €90,000, bank statements with false information and an altered P60.
In July 2013, Belling was successful on his fourth attempt to apply for a Bank of Ireland mortgage. With this €112,000 mortgage he bought a house on Malahide Road which was then rented out to tenants to cover the mortgage.
However, the documents used by the defendant to access the mortgage were forged and Gardaí were alerted.
When Belling was questioned about the agreement on September 18, 2018, the court heard that he had exercised his right to remain silent and replied, “No comment” on any allegation made by Gardaí. He has no criminal record.
Det Gda Seberry told Róisín Lacey SC, defending, that Belling is the main carer of his two sons, aged nine and ten, who were both born in Ireland. The court heard that Belling was born in Germany and spent much of his life there.
Ms Lacey told the court that Belling has exceptional values ethics and has worked in tech support for companies including Xerox, Canada Life, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and most recently Apple, where he worked from 2012 to 2017.
The court heard that Belling had a computer science degree from DIT and had also trained as a registered nurse.
Ms Lacey said her client has been unemployed since 2017 and homeschools his two children.
He does not receive social assistance in Ireland but does receive social assistance from Germany.
A psychiatric report submitted to the court revealed that Belling was hospitalized in Berlin due to suicidal thoughts because of depressive illnesses and, despite successful treatment, still suffers from many years of depressive disorders and passivity.
Ms Lacey said the report showed Belling had been “conditioned” by both a domineering mother and a domineering wife. His father died when he was two years old and his mother remarried an alcoholic.
She said Belling’s wife has been listed as missing since 2017 and that both Belling and his wife have obtained security orders against each other over the course of their 17-year marriage.
“Their relationship was stormy,” Ms Lacey said.
She said although Belling took full responsibility, the plan to dishonestly obtain mortgages originated with his wife, who knew Chinese people involved in forgery and worked with them to recover the forged documents, payslips and ID cards to fake.
Ms Lacey said Belling’s wife plans to buy more and more properties and place tenants in them to help pay off the mortgages.
Ms Lacey said her client had told his wife the program wouldn’t work and was reluctant, but he later told gardaí, ‘It was my fault. I should not have done that.”
The court heard that Belling had defaulted on his mortgage payments on the Malahide Road house because customers had failed to pay the rent.
Ms Lacey said the home had €96,000 outstanding on the mortgage and Belling had borrowed €46,000 from his sister to pay the arrears, which were settled in full.
Ms Lacey said a hearing before the Private Residential Tenancies Board was scheduled later this month to deal with the home’s tenants, after which Belling intends to sell it.
She said Belling plans to use the money from the sale to pay off the mortgage and pay back the loan to his sister.
The court heard that Belling has a low risk of recidivism. He wrote a letter of apology to the court and is fully aware of the impact of his actions on his children, the court said.
The Italian trial, meanwhile, has heard evidence in Bellingh’s absence.
According to reports in the Italian press, he claimed that his wife abandoned the ship while he and the children were on a shore excursion.
After his release in Italy in 2018, Mr Belling told reporters he believed she arranged her disappearance.
Mr Belling described her as a “cruel person” for allowing him to serve 14 months in prison for a crime “she knows I didn’t commit”.
“I think my wife is most likely in China. There is a small chance that something happened to her in Greece, but I believe she is in China. I think she knows I’ve been in prison.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/man-accused-of-killing-wife-on-cruise-ship-claims-she-was-behind-scheme-to-falsify-mortgage-documents-41843428.html The man accused of killing his wife on a cruise ship claims she was behind a scheme to falsify mortgage documents