Suspended sentence | 

Kinahan Cartel money-launderer escapes a second prison sentence

Sean Ruth

Paul Neilan

A former "mid-tier" Kinahan Cartel member who never paid tax and was claiming State benefits while laundering tens of thousands of euro in crime cash has been given a fully suspended sentence by the Special Criminal Court today.

Sean Ruth of Stradbrook, Stradbally Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois, had pleaded guilty to two crime-cash laundering offences.

The three-judge court was previously told that the 32-year-old has paid the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) over €20,000 and that his parents will assist him in discharging a remaining €9,900.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt today sentenced Ruth to four years and six months for both offences before suspending both for six years, ordering that the €9,900 be paid back inside 12 months

Ruth spoke only to acknowledge that he would be bound to the peace for those years.

"Paying your taxes is part of being a good citizen, too," said the judge, who added that Ruth should not "re-take his previous wrong steps".

The judge said the amount of money involved was also towards the lower end of the spectrum but noted that Ruth had been "deeply involved" in an active criminal organisation in the past.

Lawyers for Ruth previously told the non-jury court that he has since reformed, has "taken his medicine" and would not benefit from going back to prison.

"It is supposed to be an eye-opener," said Mr Justice Hunt, who acknowledged that Ruth had positive testimonies, had continued in education and had not come to the attention of gardaí in the two years since his release for a separate offence.

During March's sentence hearing, the court heard that Ruth allowed his bank accounts to be used for money laundering but has disassociated himself from criminal activity since his 2019 release from prison on a firearms conviction.

Ruth was previously jailed for three years for possession of a .38 Special Calibre "Rossi" revolver and 9mm calibre round of ammunition after he was linked through DNA evidence to the firearm, which was found inside a blood-stained plastic bag.

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