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Money, money, money Car trader accused of handing over rucksack with €200k in crime cash

Surveillance was carried out outside Costa Coffee, Omni Park, Santry where the accused was allegedly seen meeting a co-accused and handing him a rucksack.

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A CAR trader gave another man a rucksack filled with nearly €200,000 in cash in a handover of crime proceeds outside a Dublin cafe, it is alleged.

Gardai maintain Paul Finnegan (33) was seen on CCTV giving the man the bag that was later found to contain the “enormous” pile of cash.

He was granted bail subject to a €10,000 lodgement and had his case adjourned at Dublin District Court today.

Judge Treasa Kelly remanded him in custody with consent to bail to later this week.

Mr Finnegan, of Greenfield Park, Newry, Northern Ireland is charged with one count of money laundering, at Old Swords Road, Santry on January 30, 2020.

Detective Garda Susan Plunkett said the accused was charged at Kevin Street station last night and made no reply after caution.

Objecting to bail, she said the charge arose from an intelligence led operation by the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, targeting money laundering.

Surveillance was carried out outside Costa Coffee, Omni Park, Santry where the accused was allegedly seen meeting a co-accused and handing him a rucksack.

The co-accused was later stopped and the bag was found to contain a large pile of cash in €20 and €50 notes, totalling €199,900, Det Gda Plunkett said.

The money was loose and bound in bundles with elastic bands. Some of the cash was vacuum packed.

CCTV of the interaction was sent to the PSNI and Mr Finnegan was identified, she said.

He had provided no explanation for his actions on the date and was “caught red-handed”, Det Gda Plunkett alleged.

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She believed the accused was a “severe flight risk” as he had no address in this jurisdiction and had a UAE residency card and driving licence.

He had recently returned from the UAE and planned to return there, she said. Both men were suspected to have been involved in moving large amounts of cash in and out of the state, she said.

Defence barrister Cathal McGreal said Mr Finnegan had been abroad working in the UAE but he would not go back there, could surrender his passport and work online in motor vehicle trading here.

He had “very strong family ties,” was in loco parentis to his partner’s child and could stay at her address in Rialto, Dublin. There was “no incentive for him to go anywhere.”

Trial dates being given were not until 2024, Mr McGreal said.

Judge Kelly said the charge was serious and involved an “enormous amount of money in cash” but the accused was presumed innocent and fears of flight risk could be dealt with by bail conditions.

She granted bail in Mr Finnegan's own bond of €15,000, with €10,000 to be lodged in cash and an independent surety of €15,000.

Under conditions, he must live at the Dublin address provided, sign on daily at Kevin Street garda station, provide a contact phone number, surrender his passport and not leave the jurisdiction.

He was remanded in custody with consent to bail to Cloverhill District Court on Thursday.

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