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cash seizure Former Dublin male model extradited to Northern Ireland to face money laundering charges

Mark Adams was arrested at Belfast International Airport in May 2018

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Mark Adams (left) talks to Sunday World reporter Patrick O'Connell

Mark Adams (left) talks to Sunday World reporter Patrick O'Connell

Mark Adams (left) talks to Sunday World reporter Patrick O'Connell

A former Dublin male model wanted by the National Crime Agency for alleged money laundering offences has been handed over to face charges in Northern Ireland. 

Irish authorities brought Mark Adams (41) to the border just south of Newry yesterday where he was picked up by NCA officers.

Adams, from Malahide, is wanted in connection with his arrest at Belfast International Airport in May 2018, when more than €180,000 was found in his luggage.

In January 2020, a European Arrest Warrant was issued when he was subsequently released on bail but failed to return.

Adams appeared before Antrim Magistrates following his extradition and charged with three counts of money laundering.

He was remanded in custody until his next court appearance on September 7.

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Some of the cash seized in Adams' luggage at Belfast International Airport

Some of the cash seized in Adams' luggage at Belfast International Airport

Some of the cash seized in Adams' luggage at Belfast International Airport

NCA Belfast Branch Commander David Cunningham said they were grateful to the Irish authorities for their assistance in extraditing Adams back to Northern Ireland to face money laundering charges.

“It demonstrates our commitment to work together to tackle organised crime impacting on both sides of the border,” he said.

In October 2020, ex-Airport policeman Adams was jailed for his role in separate money laundering offences of €1 million.

Adams had previously starred on an RTE dating show and nearly made it to Big Brother.

In 2010, the Malahide-native had a starring role in the RTE dating show One Night Stand.

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He was among a group of sexy bachelors lined up to meet a trio of former Rose of Tralee beauties.

“I don’t know what to expect but I hope the girls won’t be too cruel,” he said back in 2010. “I suppose it’s too late to back out now. I think it’s a bit of a laugh and I’m single so I might as well try.”

Adams was signed to the John Compton model agency and two years before also tried to entered Big Brother.

“When I went into hiding for two weeks beforehand some model rang a national newspaper and I was dropped from the show,” he said at the time.

“I was in the Coronas’ last video and that’s when I really got comfortable in front of the camera.”

At the time, Adams claimed he had no time to find a girlfriend as he was working too hard.

“I can’t really go out anymore,” he complained.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Adams’ life had been "blighted" with a dependency on drugs and gambling but he was on a waiting list for treatment when stopped by customs officials as he was about to board a flight with over half-a-million euro in cash in 2015.

"If I tell you I am a dead man, even if I don't tell you I am a dead man anyway," said Adams when asked about the source of the cash in the airport.

Adams, of Castle Heath, Malahide, Dublin pleaded guilty to engaging in handling €582,045 the proceeds of criminal conduct at Dublin Airport on September 11, 2015.

He also pleaded guilty to money laundering in relation to €227,130 at Bank of Ireland, Dublin Airport; €298,280 at PTSB, Main Street, Malahide and €78,990 at Bank of Ireland Credit Card Centre between January 2012 and March 2017.

Judge Martin Nolan said as an airport policeman for 13 years, Adams "knew the ways of the world" and would have been under no illusions that he was aiding criminal enterprises.

He noted Adams had pleaded guilty, made admissions and had no previous criminal record.

He took into account Adams has a work history and is a good father and family man.

"I consider money laundering to be very serious. It is vital to any criminal enterprise to have people to money launder for them and for his own reasons, he did this," said Judge Nolan.

He imposed five years' imprisonment.

Judge Nolan said the five years was to act as a punishment and general deterrent.

Detective Garda Tom Victory of the Garda Economic Crime Bureau told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, Adams was intercepted by customs officials on the morning of September 11, 2015 as he was attempting to get on a flight to Brussels and a large concealed sum of cash was recovered.

A further small sum was found in a follow-up search resulting in a total of €582,045 being forfeited to the State on that occasion.

A further small sum was found in a follow-up search resulting in a total of €582,045 being forfeited to the State on that occasion.

A money laundering investigation was launched and gardaí discovered €604,400 in numerous cash lodgements to three accounts held by Adams on dates between January 2012 and March 2017.

When arrested, Adams said this represented earnings from modelling. The investigation found that the model agency Adams worked for had closed in 2012 and prior to that he had earned €4,000 in relation to seven modelling jobs between 2007 and 2012

Det Gda Victory said documentation showed 253 flights booked with airlines in 2014 and 2015. Adams made no comment to gardaí when asked about the source of the money seized at the airport.

The court heard Adams was a former airport policeman who was on career break when under investigation.

Det Gda Victory agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that when spoken to in the airport about the money and asked if he owned it, Adams said "If I tell you I am a dead man, even if I don't tell you I am a dead man anyway".

He agreed that the loss of this money would place Adams in a "precarious position" with people who "value money above all else".

Det Gda Victory agreed that in relation to the money in the airport the cash was not his and he was effectively moving it from A to B.

Mr Bowman handed in a number of testimonials as well as a letter from the accused man himself.

He outlined Adams is attending counselling and working as a Red Cross volunteer while in custody.

He said Adams had been a promising sportsman but suffered a career-ending injury at a young age.

He developed a dependency on alcohol and cocaine and suffered from depression.

Counsel said he had been on a waiting list for a treatment centre when arrested.

He outlined testimonials from family which characterised him as a good person who had made poor decisions.

Mr Bowman said Adams had not used his position as a former airport policeman in his offending.

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