Arthurs charged under Proceeds of Crime Act

Now that the bail hearing Fair Deal noted earlier has taken place, we have some of the detail of the charges against Brian Arthurs, who was named in this 2005 Times report as a member of the PIRA army council. He has been charged with converting criminal property and obtaining a money transfer by deception. The hearing was attended by Sinn Féin MLA Francie Molloy who has claimed the charges were part of “a politically driven vendetta against a number of republicans in the East Tyrone area.” BBC Video report here [RealPlayer file]

..a detective inspector told the court in Dungannon the charges were part of a multi-million pound fraud investigation. Mr Arthurs was released on bail to appear in court again next week. Bail was granted on two sureties of £20,000 each and the defendant’s own bail of £50,000. The police officer said the alleged offences took place under the Proceeds of Crime Act and involved a criminal gang. He said the officers who arrested Mr Arthurs had found more than £20,000 in sterling and euro hidden in his car. However defence solicitor Peter Corrigan said it was “an example of political policing at its worst”.

UpdatedThe Irish Times today notes the brief reaction to Francie Molloy’s claims from a PSNI spokesman [subs req]

The PSNI rejected Mr Molloy’s claims. “This is tired old rhetoric which has no basis in reality,” said a spokesperson.

And the report adds this detail from Brian Arthurs’ solicitor at the hearing

Mr Corrigan said there was no question of Mr Arthurs not returning for subsequent hearing. “In addition, my client takes great exception to the allegation made that he is involved in a criminal gang.”

“Mr Arthurs is an honest, hard-working man, and I am in possession of references provided by MLAs supporting his efforts made in the peace process and his role in actively involving police in his community. This is what he gets in return.”

References provided by MLAs?