NewsCrime Desk

CTI swoop on Algerian and Moroccan national over ISIS money laundering

CTI swoop on Algerian and Moroccan national over ISIS money laundering

The Garda anti-terror unit has arrested two foreign nationals on suspicion of laundering money for the terrorist organisation Isil.

Detectives from Counter Terrorism International (CTI) swooped on the two men, a Moroccan national and Algerian national, in Dublin yesterday morning following a lengthy operation involving international police agencies. The duo were arrested at addresses in Swords and Stepaside.

A senior source said last night that the men, aged in their 30s and 40s, have lived here for a number of years and are suspected of using Irish bank accounts for the transfer of money connected to the notorious terror group.

"This operation is focusing on money laundering taking place in Ireland for Isil," the senior source said.

The men were being detained at Blackrock Garda Station after their arrest under the 2015 Terrorist Act.

Several follow-up searches were also carried out in two counties, with locations in Stepaside, Swords, Dublin's South Circular Road and Trim, Co Meath, raided.

A number of documents and items - including electronic devices - containing financial details were seized by gardaí. It is understood the men have been living in this jurisdiction for some time.

The operations were part of an ongoing investigation carried out by the CTI unit, a branch of the Special Detective Unit based in Harcourt Square.

They have also been assisted by security agencies from other countries.

A Garda spokesman said: "On the 8th of May 2017, a male Algerian national and a male Moroccan national in their 30s and 40s were arrested in the Dublin area for offences pursuant to The Terrorist Offences Act 2015 as amended by members of the Counter Terrorism International Unit.

"They are both currently detained at Blackrock Garda Station under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984," the spokesman said.

The Criminal Justice Terrorist Offences Act, which was amended two years ago, carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years upon conviction.

Senior gardaí previously stated the organisation was skilled enough to deal with the threat of foreign terror groups.

Supt Noel Cunningham, president of the Association of Garda Superintendents, said that combating dissident republicans over the last number of decades has also helped train gardaí in the gathering and dissemination of intelligence.

However, he added this strand of gathering information, which helps combat international terror groups that pose a potential threat to the State, would need continued resourcing on the ground and through community policing initiatives.

"New situations are being thrown up every day. Who would have thought several years ago that members of Isil would be identified in the south of Ireland. This is a whole new departure for us.

"I think we are very, very well equipped and skilled in relation to intelligence gathering and intelligence dissemination, but what I do believe is that this requires resourcing on the ground," Supt Cunningham said last week at the association's annual conference.

Robin Schiller and Ken Foy