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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  • Dublin voter

    RTE News at One had garda sources saying the investigation isn’t over yet and that they are looking at the possibility of charges against others. The big name that was mentioned a lot in court was Phil Flynn, ex Gen Sec of the IMPACT public sector managers union, ex Vice Pres of Sinn Féin and ex Chairman of some bank or other (ACC? IIB?). We could finally have a prominent banker up in court in the Republic after all the financial scandals.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, I won’t comment on what or might or might not happen, but I trust every time Cork’s burning banknotes are mentioned we’ll stop hearing about ‘the stash’ in New Forge…

  • Congal Claen

    But surely this can’t be true. We were told on here repeatedly by nationalist posters that it wasn’t the Ra – it was just “gangsters” as Ward told us or even more ridiculous, the police.

    And sure MI5, PSNI are all just Keystone Cops type characters. Yet, they’ve manged to get a stooge accepted into a Cork courtroom as a judge and enough stooges on the jury to convict an obviously innocent man. How did the fools manage that?

  • joeCanuck

    Was there any evidence of a connection between the man and the PIRA?

  • Comrade Stalin


    I would indeed love to know what happened to the New Forge stash. For that matter, I’d like to know more about exactly how the notes in Cork were connected to the robbery.

  • Belfast Gonzo


    There are still a lot more questions than answers in all this.

  • I think I read that the notes in Cork were Northern Bank new ones that could be traced.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Yes, they had handwriting and/or (partial) stamps that proved the notes had passed through the Belfast cash centre. However, there were questions raised over the year, as only ‘December 15’ or 16 could be read, and not the year.

  • Harry Flashman

    Well, well, so it seems the Bank of Scotland operation in Ireland was every bit as much of a dodgy outfit as its parent in Edinburgh. Can anyone conceive of why it was thought a good idea to make a man linked to one of the most sophisticated criminal organisations in western Europe a director of a bank?

    You aren’t even hearing one tenth of the truth about these operations folks, you probably never will.

    I knew some of the characters involved. They stank to high heaven back then too, but hey, we don’t want to lift too many rocks, we might end up being overwhelmed by the horrible creepy crawlies that came surging out.

  • Dave

    “We could finally have a prominent banker up in court in the Republic after all the financial scandals.”

    Nope, as the State’s ‘turn a blind eye’ policy to the organised crime of the Shinners excludes that option.