10 year sentence for laundering Northern Bank robbery cash

Cork-based money lender Ted Cunningham has been sentenced to 10 years after being found guilty of attempting to launder more than £3million from the Northern Bank robbery. RTÉ report here. His son, who pleaded guilty to one charge, received a 3 year suspended sentence. BBC NI’s Dublin correspondent Shane Harrison provides a report on the whole proceedings.

Adds The iol report’s worth looking at. And From a separate iol report

Pleading leniency, defence counsel Ciaran O’Loughlin SC told the judge his client had been used by the IRA and was far removed from the original offence in Belfast.

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  • That is a long sentence, for ‘attempting’ to do something the multi national finance houses have been doing for decades. Was the cash actually proved to be part of the northern bank raid haul, or did the prosecution only claim it was and the jury took their word?

    I have no doubt Ted Cunningham is far from an angel, but it does seem in this case the minnow takes the rap whilst the big boys walk free.

  • Scaramoosh

    “but it does seem in this case the minnow takes the rap whilst the big boys walk free”.

    Yes, Mick, you are right – as in the rest of life. The Fall Guy.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Per one of the news-links, some of the notes were tested and tied to the center which was robbed.

    “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.”

    A 10% sample with a *potentially* positive hit rate in the neighborhood of 3% — inferring that the testing could only identify that the bills had passed through the centre and not as being positively id’ed as part of the swag from the robbery –good, solid circumstantial evidence, but circumstantial nonetheless.

    I’d suspect that most of the verifiable evidence — new bills whose serial numbers could be verified — should have been the first thing the robbers or the launderers would have destroyed.

    I’d be curious as to the “normal” pattern of specie circulation and accumulation — was that 3 million an abnormally large amount for his firm to have on hand, how much specie in a similar-sized firm could be identified as coming from the cash centre, etc.

    As for the big-boys, I suspect their political angels and angles are far more powerful and far more acute than the minnows…

  • Mr Angry

    “Cork-based money lender Ted Cunningham has been sentenced to 10 years after being found guilty of attempting to launder more than £3million from the Northern Bank robbery”.

    Pardon me all over the place….

    “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.”

    Perhaps I’ve missed something here but when, if ever, did the Northern Bank start issuing £7500.00 notes?

  • Danny O’Connor

    The son got a suspended sentence by pleading guilty,perhaps if he had been truthful he would have got a lesser sentence.
    10 years is a long stretch,but then 3 million is a lot of money.If you burn your arse you have to sit on the blister.

  • Glencoppagagh

    DC and Mr A
    That evidence hardly matters if his barrister admits he was involved with the IRA in the robbery.
    As we know our learned friends never knowingly tell lies so we can only suppose that this admission came from his client.

  • picador

    Ciaran O’Loughlin SC told the judge his client had been used by the IRA

    Outrageous!

    Everyone knows the securocrats did it. 😉

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Glencoppagagh: “That evidence hardly matters if his barrister admits he was involved with the IRA in the robbery.”

    Once the defendant is convicted, the name of the game changes to limiting the penalty received. Secondly, I would imagine that the barrister said that as a part of the sentencing process, as the barrister saying such prior to the verdict coming in would be ample grounds for an appeal, based on inadequate / incompetent representation… It doesn’t take a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows, Glencoppagagh.

    If you’d bothered to read the thread, rather than playing for points, you’d noticed that a question was raised on the evidence and whether or not it was the primary factor in the convinction.

  • ‘Everyone knows the securocrats did it. ;)’

    More likely the Department of Work and Pensions.

  • Richard Timney

    Can Gordon Brown provide details of where he was on that date?

    The most excellent Home Secretary Jacqui Smith can!

  • Keith

    Given that money laundering has devastating economic, security, and social
    consequences. It provides the fuel for drug dealers, terrorists, illegal arms dealers, and others to operate and expand their criminal enterprises. Ten years hardly seems adequate, as he will be out 6 or 7 years. The naive among you may believe this is Mr Cunningham’s first venture into laundering.

  • Glencoppagagh

    DC

    “a question was raised on the evidence and whether or not it was the primary factor in the convinction.”

    I would have thought that the primary factor in the conviction was the incredibility of the Bulgarian aggregates speculators story.

    You might well be a lawyer so perhaps you can help me out here. Let’s assume from the outset the client is adamant that the Bulgarian explanation is the truth so the barrister does his best to persuade the jury accordingly. Having failed to do so, he his shocked when the client tells him that the Bulgarian story was actually false and that the money really did come from the Northern Bank but feels that he has been “used” by the IRA. Having recovered from the shock, our honourable friend does the decent thing and attempts to mitigate the sentence by advancing this argument.
    Alternatively, at their first meeting the client tells the barrister that he was laundering money stolen from the Northern Bank and asks if the barrister can get him off. The barrister, being honourable as well as learned, tells his client that he cannot do this and must enter a guilty plea while doing his best to mitigate the resulting sentence. To do otherwise would be to risk a grave miscarriage of justice which would be contrary to his professional ethics. Obviously, this is purely hypothesis since the client did not plead guilty.
    Or am I missing something?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Under all but the most unusual circumstances, a lawyer cannot, ethically and legally, knowingly put a witness on the stand that he knows is going to commit perjury, including, iirc, his client. It is, as a bare minimum, an ethical violation, leaving the solicitor subject to both professional sanction (if he’s lucky) and criminal prosecution (if he’s not).

    Now, that is a “perfect world” layout — reality tends to have slightly different mileage, but, broad brush, the same rules apply. That said, it wouldn’t be the first time lawyers had been permitted to be inconsistent — some jurisdictions permit prosecutors to argue different theories of the same crime in different cases — i.e. if you have two defendants who refuse to roll on one another in a murder, you can, in two different court-rooms, present the same evidence with different spins, casting each of the defendants as the murderer — it is unusual, but, strict rules, it is cricket, depending where you are.

  • Glencoppagagh

    DC
    Thanks for that.
    “an ethical violation, leaving the solicitor subject to both professional sanction (if he’s lucky) and criminal prosecution (if he’s not)”
    Presumably that same applies to barristers or are they assumed to be irreproachable?
    If a defendant is found guilty and does not appeal, then he must, by definition, have committed perjury. So in every instance of a guilty verdict, there must be at least a suspicion that a lawyer has knowingly put a witness on the stand that he knows is going to commit perjury.
    How many solicitors or barristers have ever been punished for such an offence? Not many I’m sure.
    If there were, I’m sure we would have fewer contested criminal cases. Not forgetting, of course, that there is a financial incentive for lawyers to pursue cases: legal aid payments for guilty pleas probably aren’t that great.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    glencoppagagh: “Presumably that same applies to barristers or are they assumed to be irreproachable?”

    Same church, different pew.

    glencoppagagh: “If a defendant is found guilty and does not appeal, then he must, by definition, have committed perjury.”

    The law maybe an ass, but even for the law, there are limits. You’re neglecting to consider prosecutorial discretion — who wants to tie up the courts with a perjury trial that might net the defendant after you’ve convicted him a dime on money-laundering? It smacks of vendetta, wastes the courts limited time and makes the prosecutor look like an ass in the press. Also, given the non-zero possibility that the prosecutor might lose (jury nullification, as a minimum, is a possibility), it is a “lose-lose” scenario for the prosecutor.

    glencoppagagh: “So in every instance of a guilty verdict, there must be at least a suspicion that a lawyer has knowingly put a witness on the stand that he knows is going to commit perjury.”

    The key word there is “suspicion.” What matters in court is what you can prove. You would need some *very* convincing evidence to pierce the protection of client privilege — probably so much that you wouldn’t need to pierce it (a “Perry Mason” moment or “perjury trap” in court) or had already done so illegally. Suspicion isn’t going to make the grade.