Cunningham found guilty of laundering Northern Bank raid money

Previous post on the trial here. Archived post on the Northern Bank robbery here. The BBC reports the verdict. The RTÉ report adds – “Following four hours and 40 minutes of deliberation, the jury of seven men and five women found Cunningham guilty on all 10 counts by majority verdicts.” As the iol report notes

Ted Cunningham, from Farran, Co Cork, in the Irish Republic, was found to have handled more than £3m (€3.3m) in stolen bank notes in the two months after the audacious December 2004 robbery that has been blamed on the IRA.

The 60-year-old, who ran money-lending and investment firm Chesterton Finance, was found guilty of 10 charges linked to the dirty money racket by a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. Cunningham clutched rosary beads and his lips trembled as the jury returned to the courtroom after four hours and 40 minutes and returned majority verdicts on all 10 counts. His son, Timothy, had pleaded guilty to four charges of money laundering on day 15 of the lengthy trial.

Adds According to the BBC’s Shane Harrison, the majority verdicts where 11 to 1 on nine of the charges and 10 to 2 on the other charge. Shane Harrison’s report here. Update From a new iol report

Businessman Phil Flynn, who remains involved with the company, said only: “I’m surprised at the conviction.” Among the charges of which Cunningham was found guilty were three separate counts that he bought three cars with the stolen cash. The charge sheet stated that the vehicles were being driven by former Sinn Féin councillor Tom Hanlon, Phil Flynn’s sister Catherine Clifford, and consultant Catherine Nelson – named in court as Mr Flynn’s associate – when recovered by gardaí.

And another iol report

His [Cunningham] firm Chesterton Finance – part-owned by one of the Government’s former top aides Phil Flynn – was raided as the hot money trail grew wider in the weeks after the notorious theft.

After the hearing Mr Flynn, ex-Sinn Féin vice-president and former Bank of Scotland (Ireland) chairman, said only: “I’m surprised at the conviction.”

Family and friends cried as Cunningham – now prisoner 57178 – was led away for his first night behind bars.

Of the 155,000 banknotes recovered from his home, 15,000 were examined, with more than 400 identified by stamps and handwriting as having passed through the Northern Bank cash centre.

The court heard claims that Mr Flynn, an industrial relations trouble-shooter, was his alleged boss in the money operation but no charges have been brought against him.

A consultant, Catherine Nelson, was named as the person who allegedly tried to calm him when he panicked over the cash and told him the “boys will sort it out”.

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