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money haul Shadowy 'facilitator' who moves cash for Irish crime gangs linked to massive €488k seizure

The businessman is said to work with a range of different criminal gangs who operate across Ireland.

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The cash haul made by gardai in Dublin's Port Tunnel this week

The cash haul made by gardai in Dublin's Port Tunnel this week

The cash haul made by gardai in Dublin's Port Tunnel this week

A shadowy businessman who operates as a 'facilitator' for Ireland's crime gangs was responsible for shipping the €488,000 cash seized by gardai on Monday.

A 34-year-old man was arrested after officers discovered the massive cash pile after searching a truck which had just left Dublin's Port Tunnel.

A garda spokesman the seizure came as part of an operation targeting organised criminality and the "proceeds of crime".

The man was arrested under Section 50 of Criminal Justice Act and is currently being questioned in at Mountjoy Garda Station, Dublin.

The Sunday World understands that gardai believe that a seemingly legitimate businessman - who was not arrested as part of the investigation - masterminded the money shipment.

It is believed the money seized on Monday belongs to "at least" two different organised crime gangs who use this 'facilitator' to move their cash out of the country.

The businessman is said to work with a range of different criminal gangs who operate across Ireland.

Speaking following the seizure, Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) chief Detective Chief Superintendent Seamus Boland said money laundering is a top priority for the force.

"The outcome of this operation today reflects the fact that, in 2022, the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) will continue to prioritise the targeting of assets that are believed to be proceeds of crime, with a view to seizing the assets and initiating prosecutions in relation to those suspected to be engaged in money laundering and associated offences."

The seizure of €488,000 at the Port Tunnel Plaza in Dublin earlier this week has added to the more than €24 million taken by the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) since it was established in 2015, new figures reveal.

During 2021 the GNDOCB seized a total of €5,639,310 and £38,571 (UK), bringing the total amount of cash seized by the GNDOCB, since it was established on March 9, 2015 to the end of 2021, to €24,300,241, along with £264,326 (UK) and $3,721 (US).

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Detective Superintendant Seamus Boland. Picture: Collins

Detective Superintendant Seamus Boland. Picture: Collins

Detective Superintendant Seamus Boland. Picture: Collins

A further in excess of €11 million has been forfeited to the State following the conclusion of relevant Court proceedings initiated by GNDOCB in this time, representing “an exceptional level of success”, according to gardai.

In 2021 alone, a total of €8,230,886, £142,520 (UK) and $23 (US), was forfeited to the State following the conclusion of relevant Court proceedings initiated by the GNDOCB.

Last year 16 people were convicted in the higher courts following alleged breaches of the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act, 2010, as amended.

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll (Organised and Serious Crime) is assigned a lead role within the gardai with regard to tackling organised crime.

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Asst Commissioner, Special Crime Operations,John O Driscoll pictured with Det Chief Supt Angela Willis from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, Picture Credit: Frank McGrath

Asst Commissioner, Special Crime Operations,John O Driscoll pictured with Det Chief Supt Angela Willis from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, Picture Credit: Frank McGrath

Asst Commissioner, Special Crime Operations,John O Driscoll pictured with Det Chief Supt Angela Willis from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, Picture Credit: Frank McGrath

"Asset-focussed interventions against targeted organised crime groups is prioritised in the strategies adopted within organised and serious crime and by the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB),” he said.

"In this regard, significant success has been achieved in recent times in the course of operations and investigations undertaken by the GNDOCB.

“The targeting of relevant assets, in the first instance, followed by the locating and seizing of those assets and, later, by the charging and prosecuting of suspects, through use of money laundering and organised crime related legislative provisions, has been a key component of the organised crime related strategy adopted by An Garda Síochána and the GNDOCB, in particular.”

Some of the more significant convictions for money laundering and terrorist financing by GNDOCB in 2021 included that of a 46-year-old man who was sentenced at Tralee Circuit Court in April to eight years, with the final 12 months suspended, arising from the seizure of almost €3.7 million on September 30, 2020, in counties Kerry and Laois.

On July 5, 2021, at the Special Criminal Court, a 40-year-old man was sentenced to seven years in prison, after he was found to be in possession of over €350,000, on May 11, 2020.

Other significant cash seizures made by GNDOCB in 2021 included a total of €1,203,555 following a search of a vehicle on the N7 in Ballybrittas, Co. Laois, that led to one person being arrested and charged.

Meanwhile, searches of two vehicles and a hotel bedroom in Dublin 1 and 5, led to the seizure of €1,632,540 while searches undertaken in Co Monaghan and Co Louth, saw €114,800 seized and two persons arrested and charged.

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