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Ex-GAA star 'transferred over €387K to Dubai bank', court hears

Peter Loughran

Peter Loughran

Alan Erwin

An All-Ireland winning GAA star charged as part of a major investigation into organised crime allegedly had up to €387,579 (£350,000) transferred into a bank in Dubai, the High Court heard yesterday.

A prosecution barrister claimed sums were moved to an account Peter Loughran held in the United Arab Emirates before being used to buy property back in Northern Ireland.

Robin Steer said: “It’s essentially the definition of money laundering.”

The alleged financial activity was disclosed as Loughran was granted bail on drugs charges connected to a National Crime Agency offensive targeting gangs using encrypted mobile phones.

The 45-year-old, of Tamnamore Road in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, is accused of eight offences, including conspiracy to possess and being concerned in the supply of cocaine and herbal cannabis.

Loughran, who was part of the 2003 Tyrone All-Ireland winning squad, is also charged with drugs importation and conspiracy to transfer and convert criminal property — namely cash.

The alleged offences were committed between March and June this year. He was arrested as part of Operation Venetic, the UK’s biggest crackdown on organised crime.

As Loughran mounted a fresh application for bail, the court heard police have identified up to €387,579 (£350,000) allegedly going into his bank account in Dubai.

Mr Justice Huddleston was told it was later used for the purchase of property back in Northern Ireland. According to defence counsel new information has confirmed those sums are no longer available to his client, ending any concerns he could use it to sustain him if released.

But Mr Steer contended that Loughran should be treated differently to others identified in the investigation.

“We don’t have evidence in other cases of these large sums being moved in this complex network involving other countries,”he said.

Contrasting Loughran’s salary with the level of alleged bank deposits, the prosecutor argued: “It simply doesn’t add up.”

Bail was granted, however,on condition relatives of the accused lodge a £30,000 cash surety. Mr Justice Huddleston also imposed a curfew and banned him from leaving the country.

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