Manchester businessman denies link to Thomas Murphy

As noted previously, The Sunday Times’ initial report on the ARA/CAB investigation predicted an absence of a paper trail directly connected to Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy. At a press conference today, one of the two businessmen whose homes and offices were raided in Manchester, Dermot Craven, said “I have never met this man, spoken to him or carried out any business dealings with him. There is no connection with Thomas Murphy.” However, he admitted he has met, spoken with and done business with Thomas Murphy’s brother Frank.

And Mr Craven acknowledged that his business partner, Brian Pepper, is the company secretary of a business owned by Frank Murphy.

From the UTV report of the press conference earlier today –

“We do have a client called Frank Murphy, who we now know is Thomas Murphy`s brother. Frank Murphy owns a company called Sailor Property, which owns seven properties in Manchester.

“The last property Sailor purchased through Craven Group was approximately two years ago.”

At a press conference in Manchester today, Mr Craven said he had never met Thomas Murphy but admitted he phoned Frank Murphy after his house was raided by armed police last Thursday.

He said: “I have met Frank Murphy a number of times, he is a really nice guy. At that time I didn`t know Thomas Murphy was Frank Murphy`s brother.”

He said he telephoned Frank Murphy after the raid because he had discovered who Frank Murphy`s brother was. He said Mr Murphy advised him to get a solicitor.

He said Mr Pepper, with whom he co-owns Dermot Craven Developments Limited, had the “greater part” of their dealings with Frank Murphy.

Mr Pepper, from Dundalk, was not at the press conference. His solicitor Richard Holliday said he was at work trying to reassure customers.

Mr Holliday said Mr Pepper had not known about Frank Murphy`s brother when he first met him but admitted he had attended a funeral at which both Frank and Thomas Murphy were present.

  • JD

    The ARA and Alan McQuillen have serious questions to answer as to why these raids were undertaken?, why were they conducted in the manner that they were?, why were private briefings conducted with the media alledging that were connected to Tom Murphy when their own statement made no mention of the IRA or Murphy?, and why were the raids timed to attempt to politically embarrass Sinn Fein?

    You can take the man out of Special Branch but you can never take Special Branch out of the man.

  • smcgiff

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2005/1010/north.html

    Dermot Craven admits to links.

  • hensons

    Worth looking at the spin that both RTE and UTV are putting on the press conference. Both are along the lines of “Business man admits link to IRA chief” – which to me is almost the opposite of the intent of his words.

    It seems that once agn we are in super spin mode.

  • peteb

    Perhaps the phrasing of the post’s title was too subtle, smcgiff? 😉

  • smcgiff

    Yeah, Peteb,

    But as hensons said, it’s interesting the different spin on the same story.

  • james orr

    Bad PR move by Craven.

    His best approach would have been to lie low until the investigation was complete. If he isn’t implicated in the findings then a vigorous rebuttal should be issued.

    This early press conference has just opened him up to scrutiny and has given the media a face to put to the name – and will drag him through the papers until the story runs out.

  • yerman

    You do have to wonder that if Mr Craven was admitting to doing business with Johnny Adair or Jim Gray’s brother whether some people would be protesting his innocence quite so much….

  • Jocky

    What’s the phrase again, plausible deniability.

    Wonder where he thought all the cash was coming from?

  • peteb
  • smcgiff

    ‘I see that RTE have amended the headline on their report..’

    RTE read Slugger Shocker!!!

  • OIlbhéar Chromaill

    Shock horror, businessman admits to doing business with Irish man called Murphy.
    I hope those who ran with the spin about these businessmen, who have no stain on their character, will pay dearly for their lack of care and rush to trial, judgement, conviction and condemnation.

  • Keith M

    Some posters here obviously take the rest of us for fools. Craven admits doing business and says he “may have” been duped (yeah right!). The ‘Rafia have obviously learned from the Mafia; “keep it in the family”.

    “It seems that once agn we are in super spin mode.” (sic). Well some posters here certainly are.

  • bob

    Properties worth £600k

    Properties worth £26,000,000

    Hmmmm !!

  • hensons

    noticed that myself – some difference seven houses that the brother owns as opposed to the 250 properties reportedly owned by slab on friday.

    although i suppose at the end of the cycle the machine does spin fastest.

  • peteb

    Let’s keep to the reported facts noted on Friday, guys.

    The Assets Recovery Agency said

    Identified.. not necessarily searched at that time.

    And from the Irish Times –

    Cab raided the offices of seven premises, including legal and financial firms in Dundalk, Co Louth. Detectives took away around 50 boxes of documentation for examination, well-placed sources confirmed.

  • hens

    Peteb – whats your point I see figures of €30 million, €9 million and 250 properties and today we learn it is about seven houses.

  • peteb

    You see figures, hens.. but not the words between them.

  • hens@hens.com

    ok – i am confused. i am unsure of what you are arguing here. my point is that i have no idea whether slab property portfolio is consists of a small shed in cotehill or all of manchester and given the horribel amounts of spin on the raids i am going to wait (i imagine for a very very very long time) for further information or, god forbif for pushing it, but evidence before i can make an informed decision on his portfolio.

    frankly from a political POV i couldn’t care less if he owns all of burkina faso.

  • Brian Boru

    “Dermot Craven admits to links.”

    Smgiff, these “links” are to Thomas Murphy’s brother Frank Murphy. Murphy is probably the most common name on the island and as such, it should not automatically be considered a given that having clients called Murphy would make him realise the person had PIRA links.

    I agree that the ARA have questions to answer.

  • Alan

    I see that there’s also a Sailor Propeties registered in NI. I wonder how many companies they are running. The GB company is late with their last return by around 10 months, and is also based at Brittania Rd.

    Why can we not access Company Accounts for NI on the web as we can for GB businesses? Time for Companies registry here to give themselves a shake.

    We should also be able to search by business address, director’s name and director’s home address.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Murphy is probably the most common name…’

    I was just reporting what the original heading on the RTE page stated. I was contrasting the original position RTE were ‘spinning’ in contrast to Pete’s heading.

  • Henry94

    If there is no way of accounting for the money used to buy these houses then the ARA are right to seize them and present tax bills to everyone involved. When they do that we will have something to discuss.

    But hyping up the case in the media is one thing. Making the case is something else. We have been down the hype road too many time to take it seriously.