Ransom claim adds mystery to disappearance of Irish tycoon

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THE mystery surrounding Irish businessman Kevin Michael McGeever has deepened, after it emerged he told relatives he was held captive for eight months by a gang demanding €10 million (£8.6m) for his release.

Mr McGeever was found wandering on the side of a rural road near the border with Northern Ireland last week. He had been missing since last May.

The 68-year-old, who once ran a successful business in Dubai selling apartments to British and Irish expats, told his family his captors took €80,000 from one of his bank accounts as a ransom.

He was found covered in a plastic bag and without shoes. Reports say he had been the victim of a criminal gang from Russia, who carved the word “thief” across his forehead. “He cannot understand what happened and why,” a source close to the family told the Irish Independent.

Mr McGeever told family members that, after being abducted from his home and hooded, he was driven for about two hours before the van transporting him stopped.

“When he had the hood taken off, he realised he was in a shipping container,” the source said. “On the walls, there were pictures of other men with their names written on them.”

According to Mr McGeever, the kidnappers did not speak to him and communicated only by writing information down. He said they told him the men in the pictures “are dead and you will be next”.

He has been interviewed by police in hospital, where he is being treated for malnutrition. But he is in a confused state and has been able to supply only vague details about his disappearance. Officers are expected to question him later this week.