Fast-talking lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano talks about hanging out with Saddam and explains why he tried to buy an Irish soccer club.
Giovanni Di Stefano’s nickname “The Devil’s Advocate” is entirely apt. He has represented many notorious clients, including Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, Dr Harold Shipman, John Palmer, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, Ronald Biggs and Jeremy Bamber.
But in Ireland, Di Stefano is best known for representing John Gilligan, Paddy ‘Dutchy’ Holland, Brian Meehan, Paul Ward, Marlo Hyland, and the recently murdered John Daly.
Di Stefano runs his international law practice, Studio Legale Internazionale, from an office in Rome. At the moment, the 52-year-old lawyer is representing ‘Chemical’ Ali Hassan Abd al-Majid al-Tikri in Iraq and Ian Strachan, the alleged blackmailer of a minor royal family member in the UK. He is, you might say, a busy man, with over 100 cases pending. He lives life at a frantic pace. Five minutes after our interview ends, Di Stefano jumps into his BMW and dashes to the airport, where a private plane is waiting to jet him off to Iraq for a meeting with Chemical Ali.
Di Stefano made headlines earlier this year when he attempted to prosecute, under the Geneva Conventions Act, the judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein to death. “He ran away from England, boy, like a rabbit on a promise. You can quote me on that,” he says, as we sip wine in his lavish apartment in the centre of Rome. “It is definitely an offence under the Geneva Convention Act, which clearly states you are entitled to a fair trial. Saddam didn’t get a fair trial. So therefore, if a judge gives a sentence of death based upon an unfair trial, you are in violation of the Geneva Conventions Act. I can prosecute. I got leave off the AG and someone advised him to fuck off. He’s in Kurdistan. Bastard!”
A man who is almost as fond of profanities as Charlie Haughey, Di Stefano has views that many will see as repugnant – particularly those on immigration. But that doesn’t bother him in the slightest. If there is one thing you can say for him, it is that he is extremely forthright and doesn’t give a monkey’s what anyone thinks of him.
His passions are football and music. He purchased the Serbian second division club FK Oblilic in partnership with the notorious Serbian paramilitary leader, Zeljko Raznatovic (Arkan), a man he unashamedly regarded as a friend. During their first two seasons in charge, they managed to get the team into the first division and even won a place in the UEFA Cup. After Arkan’s death, Di Stefano left Serbia and became director of Dundee FC. He is no longer involved in football, although two years ago he unsuccessfully attempted to purchase Shelbourne FC.
On the music front, during his teens, Di Stefano wrote a number of hit singles in Italy. More recently, he produced and orchestrated an album, entitled Seriously Single, by JustCarmen. The album includes duets with Jonathan King (yes, another client), who does a rendition of his ‘Everyone’s Gone To The Moon’, and even Elvis Presley is resurrected for versions of ‘It’s Impossible’ and ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’. Meanwhile, the Irish ballad group, The Bachelors, Al Martino, Mr Boogie Woogie, and Di Stefano himself, all appear on various different tracks.
As you can probably gather from this brief biography, Di Stefano is a very colourful character indeed.
JASON O’TOOLE: How did you become a lawyer for so many of the infamous?
GIOVANNI DI STEFANO: Where do you start? You start at the beginning – but is there a beginning here? Sometimes I feel I was born not in the beginning, but in the middle already! It all started with Milosevic, Arkan, then Palmer and van Hoogstraten, and then there was a documentary on me by the BBC, and then the Irish mob. But what really launched me, more than anything else, was winning the case of John Palmer, ‘Goldfinger’, in 2003. That was – without doubt – an un-winnable case. But because a confiscation notice was not properly written in its formal, that document became invalid. That effectively lost the Crown £47million and got his life back because, otherwise, Palmer would still be in jail – and he would die in prison.
Depending on whether the client is innocent or guilty, do you approach cases differently?
I don’t give a damn. I try not to even see the client, if I can, because then I’m potentially compromised. We act upon instructions. If Satan tells me that he is not guilty, I must go along that line of what he says. Now what do I believe? That’s a different story. Beliefs are for priests! They deal with that. Other areas of ideology are for philosophers. We deal with admissible evidence. A courtroom is the most unfair arena in the world. Why? Because in a courtroom if you had proper justice everything could be thrown in, but it’s not. Most evidences – in all cases – are excluded. Applications to exclude this, exclude that. So, it can’t be fair. It is a fact finding mission. The jury are asked an opinion – they are not asked to deliver the truth. It is not necessarily the truth.
Would you lose any sleep if you knowingly managed to get a guilty person set free?
I’ve never missed a day’s sleep in my life. But it depends who you are sleeping with! Because you never sleep unless you sleep with the person you shouldn’t be sleeping with (laughs). I’m not God. Only God knows if someone is innocent or guilty. Let me put it this way to you, if my hunch tells me a guy is innocent and he’s convicted, I’m bloody sad. I’m really upset. When they killed – not so much Saddam Hussein but Barzan al-Tikriti, and Taha Yassin Ramadan – I was very upset. I rarely have emotion, but I had to embrace them on their last moments – and it’s very fucking upsetting. But, you know, tomorrow’s another day.
But you have represented some evil people, such as Shipman.
I almost become like a mass murderer myself – how dare I defend Shipman!
I once read you would represent Hitler…
There was no admissible (evidence) there. This is not offensive to the Jewish community – because they seem to be playing upon this Holocaust business – but if you believe in the Bible, when there was a choice between Barabbas and Jesus, the Jews said, “We choose Barabbas. And let it be on our side for seven generations. Let us have the blame if we’ve got the wrong guy.” There’s your consequence. Seven generations is like forever. They brought bad luck on themselves by choosing the wrong guy. They denied their own Christ. The Germans were very precise about recording everything – that in itself shows they didn’t think they were committing a criminal offence. I would have dealt with the Nuremberg Trials differently. There was never a single document from anyone, anywhere, referring to a ‘final solution’ by Adolf Hitler. Not a single memorandum. Now, did he know? Maybe. Is there a presumption in law that he knew? Maybe. Is there admissible evidence that he knew? Zero. Plenty of evidence that Hess knew. If the law was implied and not interpreted, he would have to be acquitted – depending, of course, on the wording of the charge.
You are described as the Devil’s Advocate. Do you relish this nickname?
Let me just deal with Satan, OK? If you follow his biblical story, he was a good angel. He was the second-in-command after God. He followed every single thing that God said – that’s the evidence. All of a sudden, God wakes up and creates Gabriel and Michael. He then has Michael on his right hand and Gabriel on his left. And poor old Satan, who had done all the donkey work before, was left holding the turkey. So, Satan says, “Bollocks to this. What have I done God? What have I done that has put me out of favour?” And God says, “Nothing. I just decided that I want to use Gabriel.” For no reason he’s been put aside. What a great litigation. That’s what most of the cases in the civil courts are about – about discrimination. But we’ve never been allowed to hear Satan’s side because the Catholic Church has painted him as evil. Maybe we’d still convict him, but can we please hear what Satan has to say? If you look at it in that respect, you already start to like Satan. I can make it that you feel so sorry for him then, of course, (you think) why the hell didn’t he kill God? He’d properly get away with it – with good psychological evidence, a few doctors, they’d start to say, “Maybe he wasn’t such a bad chap. Maybe he did have a case.”
Which case have you taken the most satisfaction from?
At the moment, Chemical Ali because I’ve saved his life through trickery, legal skulduggery… (pauses) by throwing everything but the sink in there, we have saved this man’s life. And two others as well. Is that right? Is it not right? I don’t know if any of these people are guilty of the allegations, I just know that Saddam Hussein did not receive a fair trial. The system could have provided a fair trial and they would have achieved the same result. Milosevic did actually get a fair trial. He died before a verdict, but he was receiving a fair trial. By and large, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is like 90 percent fair. Irish courts are 10 percent fair. That’s the difference.
Why do you say that about Ireland?
On any appeal in Ireland, three out of four fail. There is a reason for that. It’s simple: if they truly apply the law instead of interpreting the law, then what you’re saying to society is that the trial judge got it so bloody wrong, the jury have got it so wrong, so what’s the point of having it? So, they have to protect the integrity of the court system. We are aware of that. That’s why you are left with your mouth open when you have cases – like John Gilligan’s case for one. He should have definitely had his sentence reduced – without a doubt. But if you do, then what are the consequences of that? Does that mean the Special Criminal Court got it so wrong three times? Are they all completely bloody stupid? The answer is yes. That’s the reason why the Supreme Court is heavily in favour of the prosecution because the prosecution represents ‘society’. It is not independent. It represents the thoughts and the morals and the applications of society. Bit I think that’s wrong. You simply have to accept that it is better for 100 hundred guilty men go free rather than one innocent man being in jail. I’ve always been of that opinion.
Does it make legal sense that Gilligan got 28 years, which was reduced to 20 years, for possession of 20,000 kilograms of cannabis? Has anybody in the EU ever received such a lengthy sentence for a similar crime?
Never heard of it. It is absolute bullshit. He may be the biggest scallywag in Ireland, but he has to be treated fairly. When you have another person charged with a similar crime they can decide, “We can treat him unfairly because we’ve got the Gilligan sentence.” This is where the trouble lies. It escalates and you have a domino effect. The jurisprudence in Ireland, in my view, shouldn’t permit that.
What do you make of John Gilligan?
He’s a bloody good man. He may be a lot of things but he is not a liar. I rate John Gilligan. He is, unfortunately, the cause of most of the problems that Ireland have – not, he has caused it, his name has caused it. The film Vernoica Guerin. I think the system made her a martyr, which she never wanted to be. Let’s not paint a picture of Veronica Guerin as this perfect angel.
The theory was that Gilligan assaulted her when she approached him for an interview and…
Where’s the evidence? There’s no evidence of that.
And then he tried to persuade her not to press charges, but she refused, so he had her whacked. That’s the story that’s out there.
I know but, you see, the problem is that the forensic evidence couldn’t link Gilligan with the assault. And what the Gardai’s forensic expert said was that the marks, and the tear on her blouse, were consistent with her tearing it – not a third party. And on that day she said it happened, there was a birthday party of one of the kids there. So there is film and there is photographs. She did actually call there. There are photographs of that. No one assaulted her. I think another thing people have forgotten – and it should be brought out – she never wrote an article about John Gilligan. She was writing about (John) Traynor. You won’t find a single article about John Gilligan. He was not a target. Why would he kill her if she wasn’t writing anything about him?
Is this what John Gilligan has said?
Of course. He says it’s bollocks. The one guy who was found guilty, it was then quashed on appeal. Gilligan had a massive trial and was found not guilty. No-one else has been charged. Brian Meehan must have acted alone. Now, anyone who knows Brian (pauses)… you gotta be crazy. He doesn’t have it in him. But the law says this man killed her and acted alone because you must accept the law – that Gilligan didn’t do it, the other guy got off on appeal, so he didn’t do it; no one else participated, so therefore you’re left with poor Brian Meehan who is stuffed. He did everything alone – planned, premeditated, did everything by himself. But that boy didn’t kill her.
You say poor Brian Meehan, but he is portrayed in the tabloids as a vicious thug?
I mean, we are all vicious. If I find my wife in bed with someone else, you see how vicious I’m going to get. And I’m only a little guy.
Why do you think she was killed?
I have to be very careful how I word this. Veronica Guerin was writing about John Traynor. He ran brothels, as we know. So what I now want to know is this: is it true – as I believe it is – that Traynor had pictures of a very senior Irish politician with, shall we say, ladies of a dubious character. If so, who was that politician? Did the politician know Veronica Guerin? How well did he know her? And bearing all of that in mind, since he has to be the No.1 suspect in the case, why has there never been an application by the Gardai for the extradition of John Traynor from Spain? Everyone knows that he is living there. In fact I believe that he was in Ireland the other month. Why was he not arrested and questioned? I know John Traynor and, without doubt, and I am choosing my words very carefully here – he is the No.1 suspect. But he is apparently going back and forward between Ireland and Spain with impunity. Maybe someone should explain that, because it beggars belief that he is not being pursued by the Gardai. I want to know why? It’s a simple question, so I will ask it again: why has John Traynor not been extradited and questioned in relation to the murder of Veronica Guerin? I’ll tell you what I think the answer is: that John Traynor is holding an ace. But I cannot say any more than that.
What are your future plans in relation to the Gilligan case?
We will go back to the Supreme Court. I’m going to pressurise them to re-hear that.
Why do you think there has been a dramatic increase of murders in Ireland?
When you have a society that is founded on easy money and easy street, which is what has happened in Ireland – by allowing foreigners to come in and to do the jobs the Irish did – you create a vacuum. You then create a class of person who actually thinks they are more than what they actually are; instead of rolling their sleeves up and getting on with some fucking work. That’s what’s happened in Ireland – a great country fucked up because of its immigration problems. The killings on the streets is what concerns me. Obviously, I represented Martin Hyland and John Daly.
How could a small-time gangster like John Daly afford to hire you. He was nobody until he made that phone call.
That’s not true. He was somebody but not in the high pecking order. He was still a player. His sister was with Martin Hyland. They had a baby, so that’s the connection. We had a difference of opinion with John Daly. He was a young boy, 27. He shouted his mouth off, especially when he had a drink. My son does that. They all do the same. My boy has been beaten up in a pub – maybe he said something he shouldn’t have done. You’ve got to be very careful in with you say these days.
You have also represented members of the IRA.
I think I was the only one who was able to get different factions of the IRA in one room at Portlaoise Prison. I openly said to them, “I don’t know what your game is – all of you here – but if you are unable within an ambit of the IRA, which is actually the founding fathers (of the Republic), to agree within yourselves who the fuck is going to vote for you? Because that is what you want. What is your aim? Is the aim of the Irish Republican Army to throw the British out? They’re out. You want a unified Ireland – you got it since you entered Europe! Do you need a passport to go to Belfast? No! Then what the fuck is the problem? Where’s your problem? If you tell me you want to control crime, drugs, that’s a different story.” But it shouldn’t be done under a political ambit. That’s just my opinion. I speak openly with the mafia, with all the organised crime, the Islamic jihad, Hamas, with the PLO, with Hezbollah... I mean, I’m accustomed to dealing with, and I have the greatest respect for, people who have political ideology that want to change, but I do not believe you should change via the bullet.
Where do the IRA volunteers who are still in prison stand now?
The latest report from the International Monitoring Commission, which is due to be published, will give another clean bill of health to the Provisional movement, including the IRA. The IMC confirms its firm view that the Provisional IRA is committed to the political path and there are no grounds for any suggestion that it will be diverted from it. It also states that the IRA is not involved in terrorist activity. On that basis, my advice to those that are currently in jail at Portlaoise Prison, on offences of membership of an unlawful organisation, will be to apply to the Courts under the Offences Against the State Act 1939 to remove the IRA and other organisations from the list of unlawful organisations. The Irish Government cannot in reality, and legally, refuse because in doing so would be in sharp contrast and conflict with the IMC findings! Those in jail on such offences must be released and forthwith as they are de facto if not de jure unlawfully held.
How did you end up representing so many Irish criminals?
Paddy Holland contacted me. I would describe him – and I want you to quote this – as part of my family. He is not just a client, he is my friend and he is part of my family. My dog loves him. My son loves him. My wife loves him. He is very much loved by the community here in Rome. He’s in prison in Wandsworth – everything will be OK. He was stitched up basically by the Irish... I mean, there was no kidnapping at all. It was bollocks. Pure, unadulterated rubbish. On hours and hours of surveillance, he is mentioned three times.
You also represented the Dundon family from Limerick.
I have, yes. They lost their appeal. Wayne Dundon was sent to prison for ten years for allegedly saying to someone, “Fuck off! You’re dead!” How stupid. It’s ridiculous.
You are representing Ian Strachan – who along with an Irishman, Sean McGuigan – has allegedly blackmailed a minor royal family member.
He’s blackmailed nothing! Blackmail is an offence under the Theft Act 1968, Section 21. The prerequisite for that is there has to be menaces – “If you don’t do pay me money, I’m going to do this to you.” It is nothing like that at all. I mean, that’s all I can say. This boy is not guilty of blackmail. Not procedurally guilty. Not legally guilty. And not actually, factually guilty. One of those rare cases where all three combine.
You have just founded a political party called The Radical Party of Great Britain and Ireland. What are your plans?
I’m going to run in Ireland in the European elections. You better believe it. I’m perfectly entitled in the European election to run in any EU state. You don’t need to be resident or Irish. I will take my seat in Ireland because a lot of people will follow me. We are not a right wing party. We may be radical in name but not in nature. One of the things we’ll have to deal with, as a matter of urgency, is immigration. That is the key thing because otherwise you are going to dilute Irish blood to such an extent that you’ll almost wish that Cromwell hadn’t got ill!
So what will your party’s manifesto be on immigration?
First of all, immigration can only be permitted once you have satisfied the national quota (pauses)… otherwise, why have the name Ireland? Why have a name? You have to restore Ireland to the Irish. I’m not Irish but I’m a Catholic, so if it takes a foreigner to restore Ireland to the Irish, so be it. We’re having a problem there with crime, with boredom, with drugs. Why? Because people have taken their eye off the ball. They haven’t been able to resolve the problem that’s been caused by an influx of immigration. People have come into the country, taken the jobs off the Irish people, allowing the Irish people to sit down on their backsides and do nothing. They’ve become bored and when people become bored they cause trouble. That’s got to be dealt with.
People might consider such comments as racist or fascist.
I’m not a fascist but if that’s the fascist view than I’d rather be a fascist than a faggot! I’m sorry if it offends people. I’m not a racist – it has nothing to do with black, white, yellow, pink or orange. You fought 600 fucking years to get an identity and within the last 10 years you are losing it. It’s madness. For example, I’m not sure that I would allow anybody who is not a member of the European Union to buy property in Ireland. You try going to Nigeria and buying property there, if you’re not a Nigerian citizen. Go to Vietnam – it’s in their fucking constitution – you can’t buy property unless you are a Vietnamese citizen. We’ve been able to successfully deal with this in Italy. We’ve got 60 million people, so we can afford 1 million, 2 million, 3 million immigrants. You can’t. The trouble is that you’ve got almost a quarter of your population that is not Irish.
Which constituency will you run in?
I haven’t decided yet. I’ll just pick whichever one has the highest prison population – they’ll vote for me! We are not an anti-immigration party, we are a party that wants to maintain the national integrity and the national identity. The politicians in Ireland should watch out – because I’m going to get elected. I will not be passive, nor will I stand by, nor will I keep my big mouth shut when there is something to be said. I carry an awful lot of sway around the world in what I say.
Arkan was a very close friend and business partner of yours…
Oh, a great man. He would have been president of Serbia today if he’d lived. And they knew that – that’s why he had to die. He was pro-America, not pro-Russia. He was pro-NATO. He told me a great story: “I had two uncles. One living in Chicago and one living in Moscow. Every Christmas we’d get parcels and parcels of food from my uncle in Chicago and from Moscow we’d have telegrams asking for money.” (Laughs). I miss him terribly. We didn’t always get on. I was a general in the Serbian Guards of Volunteers. I still hold my military rank. There’d be no Kosovo problem if I hadn’t turned up, just like there’d be no Irish problem if Cromwell had been well at the time. There would have been a bloodbath – potentially. The Serbian Guard of Volunteers were already in Kosovo and I convinced him to pull them back. And he pulled 2,000 men back. I said to him, “Zeljko, listen, for my purposes, I don’t give a fuck, but who’s going to pay these men?” He didn’t think about that. During the Yugoslav wars the government did pay for the Serbian Guard of Volunteers, so there was no problem, but in that situation when you’ve got 2,000 times by 1,000 German Marks a month, I said, “Don’t look to me. Have you got money to pay them that? Have the government said they’d pay you? No. Fuck ‘em, pull them back.” That’s why they where pulled back.
But he was responsible for ethnic cleansing, was he not?
He died an innocent man - there is no proof of the allegations. Remember the indictment against Arkan was “sealed”, which meant that no one knew what actually were the allegations. Of course he refused to surrender as he would be surrendering to the unknown. The indictment was unsealed and made public only a month after Arkan was dead – disgraceful when he was in no position to defend himself! And yes I complained bitterly to Louise Arbour over it but it was academic. He was dead.
Did Arkan plan to wipe out all the Muslims in Yugoslavia?
No. Bollocks. There were 5 million of the cunts. Even Cromwell couldn’t have done it.
Where you ever in any battles?
I’m not going to answer that.
Have you ever been threatened?
All the time. I’m not scared of dying. I’m scared of the mode of death. In Iraq, the Americans have killed a guy who was going to capture me and drill my head, drill my kneecaps, and then shoot me in the back, to put me off. My colleague lawyer was murdered in that fashion. I’m more worried about the people who don’t threaten me.
Have you ever had a gun to your head?
Yeah, in 1999 in Belgrade. You won’t believe this, but it was in my and Arkan’s football club. They – the three boys came in – didn’t know who I was. I speak English and they (the allies) were bombing Belgrade, so they didn’t take too kind to people who spoke English. And I had a gun pointed at me there. So I grabbed the gun – it was a Magnum. I took out five bullets, put one in and I went like that (he makes the shape of a gun with his hand and points at his forehead and makes the sound of a gun clicking). I went, “You fucking cunts! Even I can’t kill myself!” Zeljko was seeing this from the CCTV in the office. Then Zeljko came in and there was very, very nasty consequences for those people.
So was Arkan a violent man?
No, he was a very fair man. If you kept your contract with him you were OK. The problem was if you tried to fuck him, there’d be a problem.
Did you get very upset when Arkan died?
Fucking hell, to put it mildly, yeah. I did tell him to treble his guard because there was already indications that the British and Americans were after him.
Not many people outside Serbia would have shed a tear for him.
I don’t think I’ve ever shed a tear for anybody. Maybe I’ve got all that to come. Maybe I’ll cry at my own funeral (laughs). My world is a world of murder, blood, drugs, armed robbery, genocide. I’ve attended more than 2,000 post mortems. How can you cry? When do you stop if you start? So, you just bottle it. I don’t think I even cried at my father’s funeral – and he died the same day as Saddam. I’d gone to the district court of Colombia to stop the execution – which we did stop for 14 hours. I was told that my father died at 2.20pm and Saddam was killed 14 hours later. I had a choice: I couldn’t do anything for my dad – there’s nothing I can do, he’s dead. I had to fend off the media. My father brought me up to think you shed a tear for the living, not the dead. If you want to cry for someone, cry when they’re alive and show them that you care, not when they’re dead. I know that he was very proud of me. I stood with the living and I kept Saddam alive for an extra 14 hours. It didn’t do any bloody good, but 14 hours is better than 14 hours less.
Do you have fond memories of Saddam?
I met him three times. It is not as if we went whoring! Or drinking. He was the president of the country. Saddam was my client. Saddam was a nice guy. I’ve known him since 1998. You see, Yugoslavia and Iraq were both under sanctions. We formed a sort of club, “Under Sanctions”. Burma – I also act for General Thura Shwe. Do you remember that idiot who went into Burma (and) they kept him in prison? I sent a telegram to General Thura Shwe to release him and, like that, they did.
You were a director of Dundee FC for a short while. What went wrong?
(Groans). It was like marrying a virgin and then finding out, after you’d married, that she’d eight children. The problem there was that the people had lied to me. They’d told me that there was just a few million – £3 /£4 millions of debts – but the actual reality was when I became director I found out there was more than £20 million debts. The taxman was the first person to call me. From day one, it was very much like a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest.
But that experience didn’t deter you from offering €1million for Shelbourne FC.
Yeah, they should have taken it. Look what’s happened now. Ollie’s (Byrne) died, God rest his soul. Nice man. And again, that was the media… I’m still keen on Shelbourne. Drogheda are going to be crowned champions today, aren’t they? How they fuck do you have a championship that finishes in November? [er... the season runs through summer – soccer editor] That’s what I’d like to know.
How do you deal with stress?
We live in a stressful society. I don’t take drugs; I don’t smoke; I don’t get drunk, and I don’t gamble, which just leaves one other vice.
I just have one wife. I don’t have mistresses.
Given your wealth and the circles you move in, you must get a lot of attention from women...
If I thought at any one time that any young girl between 22 and 30 really fancied me because I was Giovanni Di Stefano, who knows? We may be tempted. But because I know there is an ulterior motive – it’s because I’m rich, I’m relatively famous, or infamous, depending on how you want to look at it – you have a tendency not to proceed. It is an insult to my integrity. To be quite honest with you, I like my work. I have five children and a dog and I have my clients. I have to be very careful who I mix with. I don’t have people come to the house; I don’t go out to dinner with people. I’m involved in some of the major trials around the world – especially Iraq – where I am a target. If you look on YouTube at some of the films of how the Americans protect me, I mean, I’m more protected than a Prime Minister there because I brought credibility to a process that is unlawful and illegitimate.
You are a man of many talents. You have written hit singles and are now involved in looking after the singer JustCarmen.
I produce/manage JustCarmen. I own her lock, stock and barrel. She’s been to Ireland – she’s recorded with the Bachelors. The reason why I became a lawyer is that when I was fifteen, I wrote a big hit song in Italy. I sold it for £100, thinking it would be nothing, and it became a big hit. They think the copyright was stolen, so I thought, “Fuck it! We need to be a lawyer here.”
I see Jonathan King appears on the new CD. He’s another celebrity you represented.
Jonathan King did not commit the offence (he was convicted of) and I’ll tell you why: on the dates they said that he allegedly buggered someone, he was in New York. We found the evidence – American Express. Well, they say, “We might have got the wrong date.” Well, fuck me, why don’t you say so? Why don’t you get it right on the indictment? We are still ongoing CCRC on that. I’m not going to let that go. I’m not saying that he’s not a homosexual, but you accuse him that on September 4 that he did this, but he was in America. So unless he has a 5,000 mile prick he couldn’t have done it.
But he was charged and convicted of six offences against 14 and 15 year old boys committed between 1983 and 1989.
King was cleared of the main case. He was cleared on 16 charges and convicted on four charges. As far as I’m concerned, he was an innocent man. He got a ridiculously lengthy sentence.
I was looking at your Wikipedia page…
It’s all bollix. If you look at ‘history’ (section of his Wikipedia page), Jimmy Wales, who is the owner of Wikipedia, has said, “Don’t change this.” People are changing it – putting in rubbish about me and I said, “If you don’t fucking change it, I’m going to sue you all.” For the owner of Wikipedia to intervene, what does that tell you?
What about the alleged fraud convections?
Bollix. I mean, that was quashed. Here is my certificate that I have no convictions (He shows me some documentation – JOT.) There you have my certificate from the International Bar. And more important is this one here, from the New York State Bar.
What about the part stating you where deported from the US back in 1992?
It’s bollix. The fucking Americans protect me.
And, according to this Wikipedia file, you are banned from entering New Zealand.
Who the fuck wants to go there? I’ve been there. Rubbish. There was an article in the Daily Record that I murdered 25,000 people in Srebernica (Kosovo). That I was guilty of that. No problem! Because if you want to believe that and I’m still practising in the courts, then I really must be good! That’s why I don’t bother suing a lot. People want me to sue because it wastes my time; I’m then occupied with that and not concentrating on the case. I don’t fall for that shit.
What about the part about you making a fortune from importing videotapes into the UK from Hong Kong?
That’s true. What they do is: they have a tendency to mix some truths and some lies. I imported blank VHS videotapes from Hong Kong into the UK. In 1978, they used to go for £14 for £18, but I bought them from Hong Kong for a fiver and sold them for £7. My first contract was with Dixons. What I then did, which brought me to some controversy, was I sold blue films – but wait, blue tapes; I’d changed the colour of the tape from black to blue. That’s all. So those sold for £8. This is why Sullivan and Desmond had their porn on my blue tapes. They bought blanks from me. Under the trade description act, they could quite properly say, “We sell blue tapes.” Just apply the mind.
He may be the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, but the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Eamon Martin, is very different to his predecessors. In an exclusive interview he talks about growing up in Derry, the impact of the Troubles, his love of music, sexuality and his desire for a united Ireland.Read More
She entered politics, working with Tony Gregory, as far back as 1979. But it was only when the Dublin socialist TD died that she ran for the Dáil, successfully holding his seat. Recently re-elected, she looks back at her relationship with the man she describes as a “Casanova”. And she talks about some of the biggest issues of the day.Read More
Christy Dunne has been depicted as the Godfather of Irish crime. His family were notorious for their involvement in the heroin trade. But has the portrayal of the man himself been wide of the mark? Here, he tells his side of the story.Read More
He is the grandson of Éamon De Valera – one of the founding fathers of the State and a former Taoiseach and President. So has his unique lineage had anything to do with the success of EAMON Ó CUÍV? These and other issues are teased out in a remarkable interview with Ireland’s Minister for Community Affairs.Read More
His brother, John Bruton, was the leader of Fine Gael and served as Taoiseach. Now, Richard Bruton is a key member of the opposition front bench. Would he have anything different to offer if he was Minister for Finance?Read More
Current affairs anchor – and Ireland's leading ‘yummy mummy’ according to the tabloids – MIRIAM O'CALLAGHAN talks about the challenges of raising eight children, her past marital woes and taking a pay cut at RTÉ.Read More
It was in KIERON DUCIE’s house that the model Katy French had the seizure that preceded her tragic death. Since then, he has been the subject of a campaign in the press which reveals the skewed news values of too many newspapers.Read More
Dutchy Holland was an institutionalised criminal - but one of an unusually corteous and thoughtful disposition. By Jason O'TooleRead More
He's been described as the 'intellectual powerhouse of Fianna Fail'. As the party goes into electoral meltdown special advisor to the Taoiseach turned Junior Minister Martin Mansergh talks about George Lee, the Government's unpopularity and the prejudices faced by a member of the Anglo-Irish community who dared go into politics.Read More
They say that he was among the most powerful – and the most ruthless – Republican activists of them all. Here the legendary Bobby Storey, reputed to have been Director of Intelligence for the IRA, talks for the first time about his role in the struggle, and about some of the critical events that led to the IRA ceasefire and the Peace Process.Read More
It was 1985 when Bruce Arnold first wrote about the child abuse scandal in Ireland. In a powerful new book on The Irish Gulag, he is hugely critical of the efforts of the State as well as the Church, accusing them of conspiracy.Read More
Since fortune first began to smile on The Script, the band has been plunged into an extraordinary saga of injury, death, personal loss and heartbreak...Read More
New Xposé presenter GLENDA GILSON talks candidly about the malicious newspaper allegations printed about her late Uncle Liam Lawlor, recalls the feelings of pride she had for her ex Brian O’Driscoll captained the Irish squad to a Grand Slam victory and looks forward to Xposé Live at the RDS!.Read More
She was a stalwart member of the Green Party, serving as an MEP for 10 years. Now, thoroughly disillusioned with the party’s performance in Government with Fianna Fail, PATRICIA McKENNA has decided to leave – and to run as an independent in the upcoming European elections.Read More
In an exclusive interview, LARRY SANGER - widely credited as co-founder of Wikipedia - takes issue with a number of comments made by ex-colleague Jimmy Wales in Hot Press recently, and explains why his new online encyclopedia, Citizendium, will eventually conquer cyberspace.Read More
IAN STRACHAN was jailed for blackmailing a member of the Royal Family over allegations of a sex and drugs ‘scandal’. But a media blackout ensured that little of the substance of the case was reported.Read More
A nude model and a linguist Roslyn Fuller is a very unusual writer indeed. She tells Hot Press why the Irish need to loosen up.Read More
The world was united in condemnation over the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. In a rare print interview Israel ambassador to Dublin Zion Evrony says the campaign was justified and that his country was motivated by the desire to bring peace to the Middle East. And he tells us why comparisons between Northern Ireland the Middle East are fatuousRead More
Can John Gilligan reform the prison economy? Stranger things have happened!Read More
If, as The Bard had it, all the world’s a stage, then Green Paul Gogarty is a better actor than most. He’s been a New Romantic, a busker, a journalist and an editor before being elected to the Dáil. But even that is only half of it. In a remarkably open interview, he talks about the price of being in government with Fianna Fáil, his multiple identities on web fora, rumours that he was gay, the issue of depression – and the true story of his adoption.Read More
It is an old Republican principle. But it could also be applied to the attitude the authorities have taken to Ireland’s longest serving political prisoners, Paddy McCann and Colm O’Shea. Jailed for the killing of two Gardai during a bank raid in Roscommon in 1980, as the peace process reached its final stages they were asked to sign up to the Good Friday Agreement. They subsequently put their names on the dotted line. That was ten years ago. So why have they not been released in the meantime, like dozens of other former Paramilitary activists? In an extraordinary, confessional interview, PADDY MCCANN makes his case against the State.Read More
Notorious criminal lawyer GIOVANNI DI STEFANO – whose high-profile clients include John Gilligan – wants the law changed so that male prisoners receive the same early release privileges as their female equivalent. And he’s planning to take his case all the way to Europe if necessaryRead More
Kenny Egan brought back a silver medal for Ireland from the Olympic Games – but almost everyone agrees it should have been gold. A national sporting hero, he tells Hot Press of his plans for the future...Read More
He got involved in the fashion business in the 1960s when music was exploding. But then Tommy Hilfiger has always seen the two as inseparable.Read More
As the turbo-charged economy he helped create teeters, Charlie McCreevy talks about medical cards for the aged, the Eircom shares debacle, explains why he wouldn't swap places with current Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.Read More
He's familiar to Northern listeners as a super-smooth middle of the road DJ. But in his misspent youth as a guitarist, Gerry Anderson lived a life of rock and roll abandon.Read More
The Libertas organisation's dinner honouring the Czech President's visit to Ireland caused a furore and may have paved the way for Prague's head of state for the next Czech presidency of the EU.Read More
In the second part of the Hot Press interview, An Taoiseach Brain Cowen talks about his political influences, the fall out from the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty and more...Read More
Kieron "Wolf" Ducie, describes what happened on the night Katy French passed away in compelling detail. He also recalls the build-up to the tragic events that unfolded.Read More
Find out what Brian Cowen thinks is in store for Ireland in light of the global financial crisis and the government's unpopular decisions on medical cards and education cuts.Read More
As undercover cop- let's call him Paddy Craig- has lifted the lid on the murky world of Ireland's drug-smuggling gangs.Read More
Two years after the cocaine scandal, Liam Kelly tells his side of the story and talks about attempted extortion, alcoholism and his decision to retire from politics.Read More
In his first major interview, Aengus Fanning, editor of the Sunday Independent, discusses how he manages the most successful paper in Ireland and the death of Veronica Guerin.Read More
In his most revealing interview yet, Dick Roche explains why he doesn't trust Libertas' Declan Ganley and shares his thoughts on the use of Shannon airport by US military.Read More
So says the man the tabloids have dubbed Fat Puss, Alan Bradley. But he's due in court on charges of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, with figures between €950,000 and €2 million being bandied about in the media. In an exclusive interview, he asks how can he get a fair trial?Read More
He became famous in the North as an affable chat show host. But behind the chipper persona Gerry Kelly's difficult upbringing left him permanently estranged from his alcoholic father.Read More
In a remarkable interview, the legendary David Kelly looks back on a long and adventurous career including parts in box office smashes, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Waking Ned.Read More
Niall Breslin hit the wall – both metaphorically and physically – during the recording of The Blizzards’ latest album.Read More
Having carried the rock flag at Today FM for nine years on Pet Sounds, Tom Dunne has moved into the broadcasting mainstream, joining Newstalk.Read More
Seasick Steve is a former hobo who once called Kurt Cobain a neighbour and, in his 60s, now finds himself acclaimed as one of folk's hottest 'new' acts.Read More
A collaboration with the sultry Italian singer JustCarmen has propelled Ireland's '60s hit machine, The Bachelors, back into the limelight.Read More
Journalist Susan McKay's new book, Bear In Mind These Dead, revisits the families of victims, for many of whom the emotional scars have been slow to heal.Read More
Dutchy Holland, currently serving an eight-year sentence in Wandsworth Prison, gives a remarkably revealing interview where he discusses all aspects of his life as a career criminal.Read More
A disillusioned Patricia McKenna has lost faith in the Green Party's ability to enforce radical change, and is contemplating life outside the party.Read More
The maverick Green politician has rounded on her reality-show rivals.Read More
Crime boss John Gilliagn denies ordering the execution of Martin Cahill, and offers his opinion on the recent explosion of gun crime in Dublin.Read More
Scores of liberated Irish adults are investigating the swinging scene. It's normal, good fun, says one party organiser.Read More
Over a pint of lager, Amanda talks about her debut novel, kissing girls, losing her virginity and explains why it's hard to find a straight man in Dublin.Read More
When Joseph O'Connor's Star Of The Sea was selected as a Richard & Judy Book Club choice in the UK, it propelled the writer to the literary A-listRead More
With John Gilligan now released from prison, we delve into the Hot Press archive for an extraordinary interview conducted by Jason O'Toole in 2008...Read More
In his heyday, Larry Hagman was the biggest television star in the world, portraying the manipulative and ruthless oil baron JR Ewing in the kitschy Dallas soap.Read More
How accurate is online encyclopedia Wikipedia? Controversial lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano says the website hasn't moved fast enough to deal with the gross lies and distortions that litter his Wikipedia entry. Now Di Stefano has launched a legal action that, if successful, could fatally damage the Wikipedia Foundation.Read More
How accurate is online encyclopedia Wikipedia? Controversial lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano says the website hasn't moved fast enough to deal with the gross lies that litter his entry.Read More
Having been in a car with a man who opened fire and killed two police officers Sunny Jacobs was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. She lived to tell the extraordinary tale.Read More
Tales of high profile solicitor Gerald Kean's astonishing ability to make truckloads of money - and spend it - have become the stuff of tabloid wet dreams.Read More
Dublin's Hyland Brothers are aiming to punch their way into the Guinness Book Of Records. How? They are all launching individual bids for European boxing titles.Read More
He could easily have died, but somehow heroin addict Brendan McGee managed to cling on to life long enough to kick the habit.Read More
Renowned for his elaborately-posed images of nude figures in public settings, artist Spencer Tunick is hoping Irish people will strip off for him when he visits these shores in June.Read More
He was the shock winner of the Progressive Democrats leadership race. In his first major interview Ciaran Cannon sets out his vision for the beleaguered party, explains why Michael McDowell was really a sweetheart, decries the rise of the nanny state, calls for the legalisation of prostitution and lifts the lid on his misspent youth as a mod.Read More
While half-hearted attempts are made to clamp down on prostitution, there is a thriving prostitution business in Ireland that is widely advertised on the internetRead More
Formula One's plucky outsider Eddie Jordan talks about motor sport's party-hard reputation, jamming with Bryan Adams and winning to the British national anthem.Read More
Republic Of Loose are one of the most exciting bands to emerge from Ireland during the last decade with one of the most charismatic lead singers ever to bestride a stage in the country.Read More
She has become the public face in Ireland of Gender Identity Disorder. Now Sara-Jane Cromwell is campaigining to raise awareness of this serious, but widely misunderstood, medical condition.Read More
For the average expat Irish criminal living in Spain, life is a blur of booze, prostitutes and drug deals with the threat of violence, and even death, never far away.Read More
A collection of memoribilia from legendary artists will be auctioned later this month to benefit Music Rising, the charity co-founded by The Edge.Read More
When the Government announced plans to set up its own Press Council, it sent a shiver of fear through the publishing industry. Now, with John Horgan in the role of Ombudsman, he aims to protect the freedom of the press.Read More
It’s almost five years since Rosanna Davison first burst into the limelight, winning the Miss World contest in China.Read More
Outspoken Limerick rapper NAILERZ talks frankly to Hot Press about two attempts to kill him and, how they can smell your fear in Moyross.Read More
The Sun broke new ground recently when Claire Tully appeared as the newspaper's first Irish topless model. As it turns out she's also planning to do a PhD at Oxford.Read More
Brandy Navarre of paparazzi outfit X17 talks about the multi-million Britney media industry.Read More
For over three decades, the political agitator and columnist Eoghan Harris has been the focus of abundant controversy, consistently raising hackles with views that are seldom less than heretical.Read More
As the FAI's chief executive and the public face of Irish football, John Delaney has come in for savage public criticism over the last couple of years.Read More
They've been steadily losing ground to a resurgent Sinn Féin - and now there are rumours of a merger with Fianna Fáil. So does the SDLP really have a future? Mark Durkan clears the air.Read More
What happens when a New York comic sets off to learn Irish in deepest Connemara? Des Bishop has the answersRead More
Ex-IRA man Gerry Kelly talks to Jason O'Toole about his run-ins with the British Army, his near death experiences, the part he played in inflicting civilian casualties and his time on hunger strike.Read More
Donal Lunny takes on the US military.Read More
Having once chomped on a corgi and crawled on his knees across London, performance artist Mark McGowan is now planning to drag 300 kilos of potatoes through Dublin while dressed as Bertie Ahern.Read More
She claims to wander about in the nude in her spare time. But British model-turned-TV presenter Jayne Middlemiss is fully clothed and respectable when Hot Press pays her a visit.Read More
Most famous for the naked billboard campaign she did for Opium perfume, the granddaughter of Roald Dahl has since matured into a writer of note.Read More
A spate of drugs seizures has led Dublin's top criminals to suspect a "rat" in their midst. Once the culprit is identified, a bloodbath is guaranteed.Read More
In an exclusive interview, DeLorean executive Brian Beharrell talks about the $24 million cocaine bust that hastened the demise of the sports car manufacturer's Belfast base.Read More
Here we present a remarkably candid – and sometimes scarifying – interview with one of the top dealers in Ireland.Read More
Girls Aloud’s Nadine Coyle talks about her Derry childhood, drug use in the pop industry and explains why she gets irritated when the band are called “British”.Read More
Unheard of a year ago, Carlow teen Saoirse Ronan is the actress of the hour in Hollywood. Here, she and her actor father Paul Ronan talk about her remarkable rise.Read More
Amnesty International are using cutting edge technology and viral marketing methods to highlight human rights abuses.Read More
The young Carlow-based actress Saoirse Ronan is on the brink of Hollywood stardom, thanks to her Golden Globe-nominated performance in Atonement and her upcoming starring role in the next Peter Jackson movie, The Lovely Bones. In her first ever in-depth interview, she spoke exclusively to Hot Press about her sudden rise to fame.Read More
Shortly before her tragic death, Katy French talked at length with Hot Press about cocaine, her burgeoning celebrity and her belief in the afterlife.Read More
With a new live DVD in the offing, PJ Gallagher discusses America and the final installment of Naked Camera.Read More
In a remarkably honest interview, which directly preceded the death of his mother, Jonathan Rhys Meyers reflects on his spells in rehab and discusses life as one of Hollywood’s hottest young actors.Read More
She’s the latest Big Brother celeb – a wannabe pop star with a huge crush on Victoria Beckham. And just to be clear, Chanelle isn’t the leggy blonde one who looked a bit like Paris Hilton.Read More
When the revellers at a 21st birthday party in Waterford snorted a white powder, it had a dramatic and appalling effect. Ironically, it may be because the cocaine was of unusual purity.Read More
In fiercely conservative Jerusalem, few crimes are more unforgivable than a homosexual relationship between a Palestinian and an Israeli – as Ezra Yitzhak discovered.Read More
Thousands of adolescents go before under-age courts in this country every year. In this exclusive dispatch, we report from the frontline of the criminal justice system as it applies to teenagers.Read More
A Belfast sex shop is locked in a struggle to survive with the city’s ultraconservative governing council.Read More