By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Runaway Irish investment broker Tony Taylor is expected to fight his extradition from Britain on fraud and forgery charges after he was tracked down to the south of England last week following a three year hunt in Europe and America.
Taylor has been one of Ireland’s most wanted men since he and his wife Shirley fled in 1996 leaving their pet terrier and a substantial number of clients without their savings.
The clients included the Vincent de Paul charity which lost £185,000 earmarked for its Sunshine Homes project for poor children in Balbriggan.
His Ballsbridge-based Taylor Asset Management company had been one of the country’s biggest individual investment brokers and up to £3 million may have vanished.
Just how much cash is missing is still unclear. After his disappearance it was discovered that he kept a separate set of books for special customers at home.
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
About £1.7 million has been officially reported missing.
It is believed a number of his clients may not have made a complaint because they had entrusted him with "hot" money or untaxed earnings.
There have been reports that clients brought in suitcases of cash for him to hide and invest offshore.
Taylor had been living under the name Andrew Taylor for the past two years in Eastbourne, a resort town in Sussex, and is believed he may have begun a new Internet-based investment business.
He apparently told local people he had retired after making money on the stock market in America.
As British police began surveillance of him earlier this month, they found a private investigation agency were also keeping him under observation.
Ian Withers, chief executive of Priority Investigations, told RTE they had been hired by solicitors acting for disgruntled investors and had been searching for Taylor for two years.
"During early instructions it was made clear to us that they had a passionate interest in making sure that Tony Taylor did not disappear from the long arm of the law bearing in mind how long it might take for the case to be built up by the authorities."
His clients felt that unless somebody did something positive to keep tabs on him, "he could disappear forever" while the law moved slowly in building the complex case against him.
They tracked him down by monitoring his relatives and in particular his son Paul, who had lived in London but moved to Washington earlier this year.
When an Irish newspaper published a list of Ireland’s most wanted men, the Priority Investigations sent the copies of the paper to family members, including Taylor’s son, and they then tracked telephone calls from Washington to Eastbourne.
Withers said they knew from their surveillance that Taylor rarely left his Eastbourne home and appeared to be working with the use of the Internet.
Their surveillance threatened to clash with local police so they withdrew and gave the police any information they had.
Taylor was served with 15 extradition warrants involving £620,000 by British police and three members of the Gárdá Fraud Squad at Brighton Magistrates Court. He has 15 days to appeal.