SOCA searches in south Armagh and freezes assets

The BBC reports a developing story worth noting

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has frozen the assets of a leading republican in South Armagh. It has been granted a court order to take control of properties and bank accounts belonging to Sean Gerard Hughes of Aghadavoyle Road, Drumintee. The agency claimed the assets came from laundering the proceeds of mortgage fraud, tax evasion and benefit fraud. In 2002, Mr Hughes was named in parliament as a member of the IRA’s Army Council, an allegation he denied. The assets frozen include eight houses in south Armagh, an apartment in south Belfast, the proceeds of the sale of three other houses in south Armagh, and a number of bank accounts. The agency has also taken control of assets belonging to 10 other people in the south Armagh area, including six members of the extended Hughes family, among them Mr Hughes’ wife Annette.

Sean Gerard Hughes was also named in parliament by Lord Laird in connection with the murder of Paul Quinn. Adds The updated BBC report now includes this comment

On Tuesday, Sinn Fein MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy criticised the operation. Mr Murphy said: “The raids today on Sean’s home and those of a number of his relatives have caused deep anger in South Armagh. “There is no justification for the deliberate targeting of Sean and his family today.”

More from the NI Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy, MP, MLA ““Sean Hughes is a sound Republican”.