Garland extradition hearing finally begins

Just a quick post to note that former Irish Worker’s Party president Sean Garland’s extradition hearing began today.  It’s listed for the next 4 days.  Garland is accused by the US authorities of being the ringleader of a massive forgery racket that distributed high quality counterfeit 100 dollar bills – “superdollars”.  After being named in a BBC Panorama programme in 2004,  Garland was initially arrested in Belfast in 2005, but jumped bail.  He was re-arrested in January 2009 in Dublin and has been on strict bail conditions since February that year.  From today’s Irish Times report

In an affidavit to the court, Brenda Johnson, assistant US attorney, said: “This case involved a long-standing and large-scale supernotes distribution network (the Garland organisation) based in the Republic of Ireland and headed by Sean Garland, a senior officer in the Irish Workers’ Party.”

The US Secret Service (USSS) discovered the supernotes were sourced in the Democratic Republic of North Korea, she said, and were transported around the world by North Korean officials travelling under diplomatic cover.

They also allege Mr Garland and six co-conspirators used couriers to transport supernotes and payments to avoid detection themselves.

The international probe, which also involved the UK’s National Crime Squad (NCS) — now the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) — and the interior ministry of Russia (MVD), found the highly deceptive counterfeit bills were in worldwide circulation from the late 1980s until at least July 2000.

Ms Johnson alleged one of Mr Garland’s alleged co-conspirators, Hugh Todd, later told investigators he purchased more than 250,000 dollars of supernotes from “the Garland organisation” which were redistributed into the world economy through currency exchanges across Europe.

 More on the US attempt to extradict Garland on those counterfeiting charges here.