Elio Malocco: newspaper editor

Convicted fraudster, business "consultant", and documentary maker Elio Malocco is preparing to add another profession to his burgeoning list of occupations: editor of a freesheet property-based newspaper.

Malocco told the Sunday Tribune he intends to publish the first edition of the Dublin City Observer next month, which he is funding to the tune of some €30,000 from his own resources and those of his nephew and partner in the project, Luciano Malocco.

He acknowledged that some have questioned the wisdom of launching the enterprise at the height of a recession which has seen property prices collapse along with advertising revenue.

But Malocco, who was given a five-year jail sentence in 1991 for defrauding the Irish Press Group and was subsequently barred from practising as a solicitor here, said he has been "inundated" with interest in the project from prospective clients and others.

He envisages a circulation for the initial 36-page newsletter of 40,000, distributed on a twice- monthly basis in the Dublin area. He revealed that he will be using his video journalism training to film and conduct some of the interviews himself, which will then be posted on a multimedia website which will be a central part of the initiative.

Around half of the paper will be divided into a 'property observer' section, with the remainder consisting of interviews and other content primarily with a business focus. Malocco plans to distribute it via public transport locations and other outlets such as supermarkets.

"It will be residential and commercial and will also feature extensive property abroad. We hope to launch next month," he said.

"The ideal would have been to get it going during the Celtic Tiger years – everybody I've spoken to says it is the worst time to be launching. They said you've made some bad decisions in your time, but this tops them all."

"But I think they are all wrong. Things are much cheaper now, for example. A lot of tradespeople and professional people are telling me they are interested in this."

Arguably, Ireland's best known rogue solicitor before revelations emerged about the massive debts accrued by fugitive solicitor Michael Lynn, Malocco confirmed that he had a "chance meeting" with Lynn at the offices of the London law firm Merriman White a few years ago.

"I went into Merriman White one day and he happened to be sitting there… I said hello to him, but I have not seen him since then," he said.

He said that he has made enquiries as to whether Lynn, who is still on the run, would be willing to be interviewed by him.

"I had a telephone number for him but apparently he changes his mobile," he said. "It's not for the want of trying… I'd ask him when is he going to come back, does he not think he is being disrespectful to the courts in ignoring its requests for him to return."

"[But] I don't think Michael Lynn would talk to me."