Solicitor questioned over claims of fraud

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A SOLICITOR who disappeared leaving 55 claims from clients alleging he embezzled funds worth Ir pounds 2m (pounds 2.1m) presented himself to the Dublin Fraud Squad yesterday, writes Alan Murdoch.

Elio Malocco disappeared late in 1991 after revelations that he had forged High Court stamps and misappropriated Ir pounds 658,000 ( pounds 690,000) libel damages awarded against newspapers in the Irish Press Group, of which he was a director.

In recent weeks Mr Malocco was also alleged to have mislaid the proceeds of the sale of a house of a friend, the Irish television comedienne Adele King, better known as 'Twink'. As a result she faced the repossession of her new home from a building society, a threat now averted.

Mr Malocco's own high living saw him at the wheel of expensive cars, dressed in the smartest suits and bidding for control of Shel bourne, the Dublin football club.

In college he joined Sinn Fein briefly and lived well by buying and selling houses rapidly in a rising market.

In the late Eighties he had engaged in a frenetic series of commercial property transactions. The expected profits failed to materialise, and money was drawn from clients' funds.

Mr Malocco represented the former priest Patrick Ryan, whose extradition was unsuccessfully sought by Britain in 1989. He said he stopped representing him when Mr Ryan disregarded his advice to 'stop talking'. He also acted for Kevin McDonald, the former Irish diplomat in London jailed for selling passports.

Mr Malocco volunteered to co-operate with the Fraud Squad, but was last night being held under Section 4 of Ireland's Criminal Justice Act. No charges had yet been brought.

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