“Are people certain the proceeds from the organised crime is not finding its way into the [SF] political project?”

Micheal Martin took his second pot shot of the week at Sinn Fein in Leader’s Questions in Dail Eireann in as many days. But this was a more forensic strike than yesterday‘s more on-the-hoof affair. He starts with a reference to £28 Million raised by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) from individuals with “connections or associations” with the Provisional IRA, and then from here asks… Are people absolutely certain Taoiseach that any of the proceeds from the organised crime that’s been going … Read more

Cunningham changes plea on Northern Bank robbery money-laundering charges

65-year-old Cork-based financier Ted Cunningham has re-joined the list of those convicted as a result of “Operation Phoenix”, a huge cross-border investigation into the December 2004 Northern Bank robbery – “involving anti-terrorist units, fraud squads and the Criminal Assets Bureau.”  His original 2009 convictions, and his 10 year sentence, were overturned on appeal in 2012, after the Irish Supreme Court ruled that certain search warrants used had been unconstitutional.  As an Irish Independent report noted at the time The three-judge [Court of Criminal Appeal] quashed … Read more

Dublin High Court grants CAB €600,000 judgement against convicted Provisional IRA man

Back in 2010, in an update on convictions resulting from Operation Phoenix – “Northern Bank robbery – redux” – I noted. Then-30-year-old Don Bullman was arrested at Heuston Station in Dublin in February 2005 with a red Daz washing powder box containing more than €94,000. Bullman was described in the 2005 report noted earlier as “a chef and fundraiser for Sinn Féin”.  He was eventually charged with membership of the IRA. Two men from Londonderry arrested with Bullman were released without charge at the time. In March … Read more

Sinn Féin: “There is not a shred of evidence linking republicans to the Northern Bank robbery…”

While Taoiseach Brian Cowen refused to answer any questions on the issue, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Justice Minister, Dermot Ahern and Health Minister Mary Harney have all re-stated the Irish government’s 2005 assessment that the Sinn Féin leadership of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness had prior knowledge of the Northern Bank robbery. And a report in The Irish News today notes that Sinn Féin’s view that there is “not a shred of evidence” to link the IRA to the robbery of … Read more

Northern Bank robbery – Redux. Again.

Another, possibly final, update to the convictions resulting from Operation Phoenix.  George Hegarty had been charged with IRA membership in May 2009 before pleading guilty to  money-laundering offences connected to the 2004 Northern Bank robbery. Today Hegarty was sentenced to 6 years, suspended, for “possessing £66,000 sterling at his address on February 16, 2005, knowing or believing that the money represented the proceeds of a robbery at the Northern Bank, Belfast on December 20, 2004”. From the iol report Detective Sergeant John Cahill gave evidence to … Read more

Hanlon jailed for three years and three months for IRA membership

To add to the convictions resulting from Operation Phoenix noted previously – “Northern Bank robbery – redux”.  Former Sinn Féin councillor, and unsuccessful candidate in the 2002 general election, Tom Hanlon has been sentenced to 3 years and 3 months for IRA membership at the non-jury Special Criminal Court in Dublin. Convicting Hanlon, Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, said that the court was satisfied that Hanlon was “intimately involved in highly suspicious financial transactions involving monies which have been proved to have included … Read more

Northern Bank robbery – redux

In an under-reported move on Friday, 63 year-old George Hegarty, of Donnybrook Cottages, Douglas, Cork, pleaded guilty to money laundering at his address in February 2005, knowing or believing that the £66,000 Sterling found at his home represented the proceeds of a robbery at the Northern Bank, Belfast in December 2004, or being reckless as to whether that money was or represented such proceeds.  As yesterday’s Irish News noted Mr Hegarty was originally arrested in February 2005 at the same time as … Read more

Cunningham agrees to confiscation order for €343,520

Ted Cunningham, who received a 10 year sentence for attempting to launder more than £3million from the Northern Bank robbery, has consented to a confiscation order for €343,520 which he is to pay to the Irish State. The Irish Times report notes “Cunningham, who had been granted free legal aid by Judge Murphy, is appealing both his conviction and his sentence to the Court of Criminal Appeal but it may be next year before the appeal is heard.” The report … Read more

Two new arrests in Northen Bank cash laundering investigation

With Cork-based money lender Ted Cunningham, and son, convicted and sentenced for laundering cash from the December 2004 Northern Bank robbery, it’s reported that there have been two new arrests in Operation Phoenix. From the RTÉ report. Last night, detectives involved in Operation Phoenix arrested two men in Cork. Both are prominent republicans and one in particular is said to have been active at a senior level in Sinn Féin in Munster. Iol report names the two men as former … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

“in light of the business I was in it was not unusual for me..”

As I said previously, “There’s still some way to go in the trial of Ted Cunningham on charges of laundering money from the Northern Bank robbery”. But he has been giving evidence today about his claim that “two men drove from England in a four-wheel drive to deliver the €800,000 to the churchyard 100 yards from his home in October 2004.” Which would have been before the Northern Bank robbery.. From the iol report. Tom O’Connell, prosecution senior counsel, asked … Read more

“that was perfectly understandable..”

There’s still some way to go in the trial of Ted Cunningham on charges of laundering money from the Northern Bank robbery but, in the meantime, here’s a revealing quote from a report of yesterday’s evidence. [Det Sgt Gerry McCarthy] said he had asked Mr Cunningham to describe the man from whom he received money four times in January and February 2005, but that he did not pursue him about identifying the man as it was clear that Mr Cunningham … Read more

Trial hears of off-camera interview

At the time Mick noted that Phil Flynn, former Vice President of Sinn Fein and confidante of then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was not included among those charged in connection with the Garda investigation which led to Ted Cunningham’s trial on money-laundering charges and he has publicly denied any involvement. He was, though, a non-executive director of Cunningham’s money-lending company Chesterton Finance. Whether he was on Cunningham’s Christmas card list isn’t clear although Cunningham has met several other high profile figures. … Read more

Jury sworn in for Northern Bank money-laundering trial

Officially charged last March, today saw the jury sworn in and “not guilty” pleas entered in the case of Timothy (Ted) Cunningham and his son Timothy John Cunningham Junior – who, combined, face a reported 24 charges. The Irish Times details seven of the charges relating to the attempted laundering of money – £3,010,389 – “knowing or believing it represented the proceeds of the robbery at the Northern Bank cash centre, Donegall Square West, Belfast.” The trial is expected to … Read more

“This was the biggest irritant between us and the Northern Ireland Office..”

Just a quick point about The Observer’s extracts from Henry McDonald’s recently published book Gunsmoke and Mirrors – How Sinn Féin dressed up defeat as victory. Mary Alice Clancy’s study of the Bush administration’s Northern Ireland policy between 2001 and 2006 may have been under-reported, but it wasn’t un-reported – as John Ware would confirm [And Paul Bew – Ed]. But it has never been just about those “dreary steeples”. From The Observer article Clancy said that those she spoke … Read more

Bank heist led to dismantling of IRA…

Sinn Fein once had an impeccable reputation for strategic nous and know how. That was as true amongst the loyalists of the lower Shankill as amongst their near neighbours on the lower Falls. But according to Brian Feeney, it was the strategic blunder of robbing the Northern Bank of more than £26 million that finally robbed the IRA of its paramilitary force. His argument is worth quoting at length and in detail: For about 15 years before the Northern Bank … Read more

Northern Bank murk

Update. Here is an impressive account by Jonathan McCambridge in the Bel Tel of the reasons for failure in the case and others, minus the conspiracy theory. “In the end, the problem was the same as in the Omagh bombing and Robert McCartney murder trials – how do you solve a crime without evidence?” Our old friends the dogs in the streets will have a complete theory about the Northern Bank robbery and I doubt if Chris Ward is central … Read more

Northern Bank robbery trial collapses

The trial of the only man charged in connection with the Northern Bank robbery has collapsed. Adds The iol report includes a number of useful links. More details here. And more from the BBC’s Vincent Kearney. Prosecuting QC Gordon Kerr told the Diplock, no-jury judge of Belfast Crown Court, that they were offering no further evidence in the case of the Poleglass man from Colinmill, on the outskirts of Belfast. … Defence QC Arthur Harvey is now to ask that … Read more

Undercover Diplomat – “addicted to negotiations”

Jonathan Powell’s surprisingly interesting TV version of his diary, the hour long The Undercover Diplomat, is still available on the BBC’s iPlayer – but not for long. But, courtesy of Typhoo, I can post a few clips of interest. The first one is Powell’s record of hearing about the Northern Bank robbery in 2004 whilst on his way to a meeting with Adams and McGuinness – and subsequent events. Pete Baker