No names, no pack drill

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee’s inquiry on Organised Crime in Northern Ireland has been hearing evidence from officials at the Department of Social Development today. The BBC report that the evidence includes a NIO memorandum which highlighted the existence in Northern Ireland of “sham” charities set up as sophisticated tax avoidance vehicles, involving sums running into millions of pounds. No names, no pack drill.. as usual.. More from the Press Association report hereFrom the BBC report

A Northern Ireland Office memo put before the committee, acknowledged the existence of “certain organisations associated publicly with current and former paramilitary groups” which did have legitimate charitable purposes.

But it stated: “PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) investigations have highlighted cases where bank accounts in the names of charitable organisations, associated with current and former paramilitary groups, have been used to encash money collected from extortion and other criminal activities.

“In these cases, persons with strong paramilitary connections undertook the criminal activities.”

The memorandum also highlighted the existence in Northern Ireland of “sham” charities set up as sophisticated tax avoidance vehicles, involving sums running into millions of pounds.