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raided 'Mini Rathkeale Rovers' targeted in CAB probe into €4m laundering

Gardaí announced that CAB had frozen 16 bank accounts containing €540,000 in total, following search operations in Tipperary and Kilkenny.

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Officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau

Officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau

Officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau

The target of the first significant raids by the Criminal Assets Bureau in 2021 are a family-based gang who have been described as a ‘mini Rathkeale Rovers crew’ whose criminal base in the southeast has “grown significantly” in recent times.

Senior sources say the gang has made “tens of thousands of euro” from tarmac scams across Europe, the US and Canada and have been laundering the cash as well as significant money for one of the biggest drug dealing gangs based in the region.

Gardaí announced that CAB had frozen 16 bank accounts containing €540,000 in total, following search operations in Tipperary and Kilkenny.

“This is a crew that have invested in at least two pubs, multiple houses and apartments as part of a money laundering scam which is very international in its dimension,” a senior source said.

The Sunday World can reveal that a number of suspected main players in the gang are facing money laundering charges in Sweden.

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CAB officers targeted four residential properties and a business premises where they seized a 201 Volvo XC90 and financial documents.

CAB officers targeted four residential properties and a business premises where they seized a 201 Volvo XC90 and financial documents.

CAB officers targeted four residential properties and a business premises where they seized a 201 Volvo XC90 and financial documents.

“It is not just Sweden that this gang have their tentacles, intelligence indicates that they are also known to law enforcement in the United States and Canada as well as a number of EU states,” the source said.

The gang operates nationwide and overseas by posing as tradesmen and quoting a "good price" for jobs ranging from laying tarmac to cleaning gutters.

Because of their international “tarmac scams”, the gang whose base is a Co Tipperary town, have been compared to the infamous Rathkeale Rovers gang but gardaí say there are “no major links” between them and the Limerick gang.

“This crew do their own thing – like other similar crews they are not overly involved in organised burglary but in saying that a key member is up on charges for a burglary in south Dublin,” the source said.

“They are heavily involved in laundering money for other criminal networks,” including those based in south Kilkenny and Waterford city.

Sources said the links the gang have with one of the most prolific drugs trafficking networks in the southeast is “particularly concerning” with the tarmac crew suspected of now engaging in wide-scale money laundering for them.

Investigations have established there are around 20 core members aged from early 20s to late 60s.

Sources said there will be more arrests and searches as part of this probe.

In the operation, CAB officers targeted four residential properties and a business premises where they seized a 201 Volvo XC90 and financial documents.

“The search operation targeted an Organised Crime Group (OCG) originating in the Munster and south Leinster region with considerable links across the continent of Europe,” a Garda spokeswoman said.

“Over the course of the investigation, assistance was sought from and provided by Europol. Fund transfers in excess of €4m were identified from other jurisdictions to Irish bank accounts linked to members of the OCG.

“The search operation involved searches of four residential properties and a business premises. It was conducted by Criminal Assets Bureau personnel supported by the Emergency Response Unit and assisted by local Divisional personnel and the Garda Dog Unit.

“This morning's operation has resulted in the freezing of 16 bank accounts linked to members of the OCG. The accounts contain cumulative funds of €540,000,” she added.

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