Stephen Roche found guilty of fraud, ordered to repay €730,000

The Irish cycling giant "looted" his company's accounts "for his own private use".

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Irish cycling great Stephen Roche has been found guilty of stripping assets from his cycling holiday business and ordered to repay a total of nearly €750,000.

As reported by Extra.ie, a Spanish court found that Roche had used assets owned by his Mallorca-based business, Shamrock Events, to fund his own lifestyle, rather than paying the business’s creditors. Shamrock Events went bankrupt in 2019.

Presiding judge Margarita Isabel Poveda Bernal said Roche was “perfectly conscious” of the business’s debt situation but continued to spend anyway.

“Instead of adopting measures to avoid financing the company, or entering into voluntary insolvency, he continued to loot the company accounts for his own private use when there was a minimum amount of income in them,” she said. “Mr Roche’s sumptuous expenditure on things like golf, apartment rentals, hotels in Switzerland and Hungary, restaurants, clothes stores and fashion houses like Loewe, evidence a life of luxury and spending while his creditors weren’t paid.”

The judge added that Roche had disappeared from Mallorca in 2017, and that “his disappearance coincided in time with the appropriation of his company’s income and the simultaneous failure to pay the Spanish taxman as well as creditors who had already provided accommodation and meals.”

In addition to paying back a total of €733,866, Roche has been banned from working as a company director in Spain for seven years.

Roche after winning the 1987 Worlds ahead of Moreno Argentin and Juan Fernandez.

Roche’s glittering career featured 49 professional victories, headlined by an extraordinary ‘Triple Crown’ in 1987 – victories in the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and World Championships road race, all in the same year.

After retiring in 1993, Roche spent more than two decades running cycling tours in Mallorca. He now has two weeks to appeal the judgement against him, which he has said he will do. “The big thing is we are appealing,” he told Extra.ie. “It’s not definitive.”

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