Irish citizens restricted from leaving the country by the Chinese Communist Party for up to two years without reason

An Irish businessman, who was banned from leaving China by the Chinese Communist Party for two years and is a father of four, recently spoke out to the media for the first Time about his experiences in China.

Richard O’Halloran, 45, manager of the Irish branch of China International Air Leasing Services (CALS), left his Home in Dublin, Ireland, for Shanghai, China, in February 2019. What was expected to be a short business trip turned out to be an investigation into the illegal fundraising of his employer, Min Jie Dong, and O’Halloran was restricted from leaving the country for up to two years.

“I’m innocent. I didn’t do anything wrong.” O’Halloran told Yvonne Murray of Irish public broadcaster RTÉ in a Feb. 18 interview.

O’Halloran’s employer, Min Jiandong, has investments in dozens of countries around the world, including aircraft leasing company CALS Ireland, of which he is chairman and a major shareholder.

Min’s capital is raised through peer-to-peer (P2P) crowdfunding, which he describes as a groundbreaking business model “P2F2B+PDP (Person-to-Financial institution-to-Business+Pre-Delivery Payment) “.

Min’s business model was widely hailed as innovative by Chinese media and business magazines until July 2018, when he was accused of investment fraud and jailed after Communist authorities launched a crackdown on lenders.

The “investment scam” occurred before O’Halloran was hired. O’Halloran told Irish public broadcaster RTÉ that he went to China to reassure investors that their company’s problems could be solved.

“I felt responsible, and there have been a lot of investors who have been hurt, not just in China but everywhere, and I wanted to do the right thing,” he said. He said.

O’Halloran, who has not been charged or accused of any wrongdoing, said he has cooperated with the Chinese Communist authorities’ investigation of Min Jie Dong. However, he still has not been allowed to leave China.

“No one will tell me what’s going on.”

Irish media outlet reported on January 31 of this year that according to O’Halloran’s lawyer David Maughan, a Chinese [Communist Party] judge “confirmed that no exit ban had been issued, but told O’Halloran that he would be in China for ‘a very, very long time ‘”

“O’Halloran now fears that the judge intends to force him to stay in China to manage the sale of the aircraft when the lease expires in five years.” Moen told last month.

O’Halloran told Irish public broadcaster RTÉ that this is worse than the verdict, which does have a time limit. “It’s not like I was sentenced to a term of imprisonment, which is indefinite.” He said.

“This could go on forever, so much so that I asked a judge last month. Do you want me to tell my wife to continue living as she always has? Let my kids try to forget about me? Is that what you want to do?”

O’Halloran bought a ticket home on Jan. 10, the same day he was told at his trial he could leave China, but was again denied boarding at the airport “without any legal basis.” Moen said.

“We have no idea who has travel restrictions on me now, at all. I asked the immigration officer, was it the police, or the court? And they won’t confirm what’s going on.” O’Halloran told RTÉ, “No one will tell me anything.”

A $36 million ransom?

Irish media outlet reported that CALS, a Chinese international airline leasing service, sent $200,000 (€165,000) to a Communist Party court “as a goodwill gesture” as part of a guarantee to allow the Irishman to return to China, and that O’Halloran was subsequently interrogated by the Communist Party without a lawyer present. Police interrogated about the source of the money.

Lawyer Moen said the case was “fundamentally wrong on many levels.

“It was an amazingly horrific interrogation. During it, they asked him to personally pay $6 million to the court to assist him in getting free.” Lawyer Moen told It is understood that the Chinese Communist authorities then demanded $36 million (30 million euros) from O’Halloran.

O’Halloran recently moved from the apartment he was living in to a hotel because he suffers from epilepsy and has lung problems.

“We didn’t feel it was safe to leave him alone in the apartment, given his mental and physical health, so now he’s in a hotel and better cared for,” said his wife, Tara O’Halloran.

“As with all consular cases, it is not appropriate to discuss the details of this case or to comment on matters relating to legal proceedings in other jurisdictions.” A spokeswoman for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs told in an email.

On Jan. 21, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the suppression of Hong Kong democrats by the Communist Party, including a clause saying that it “urges China [the Communist Party] to release unjustly detained EU citizens such as Irish citizen Richard O’Halloran.”