Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

£175,000 of Northern Bank raid cash 'used as security for loan'

A financier who denies laundering some of the Northern Bank robbery proceeds gave a developer two large shopping bags packed with £175,000 in £20 notes to store in a safe.

Timothy 'Ted' Cunningham (65) denies laundering almost £600,000 of the proceeds of the £26.5m Northern Bank robbery in Belfast city centre.

The robbery – on December 20, 2004 – remains the biggest bank raid in Irish history.

Cunningham has pleaded not guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to nine charges of laundering some of the proceeds of the Donegall Square robbery.

The trial heard developer John Sheehan explain that in February 2005 Cunningham contacted him about a €200,000 (£163,619) loan. Mr Sheehan said that Cunningham explained he needed a loan of €200,000 for a period of about six weeks. "My response was: I cannot do it (if) you cannot give me security," he said.

"He (Cunningham) told me he could give me sterling. I said: 'Why don't you put the sterling in the bank?' I didn't really want to give him money. He said he needed sterling to pay for a conservatory he was buying in Northern Ireland."

Mr Sheehan said he eventually agreed that if Cunningham gave him sterling as security he would lend him the €200,000.

"On February 7, Ted arrived in my office ... he carried two plastic bags ... two Blarney Woollen Mills holdall plastic bags. He said: 'I have the sterling, £175,000'.

"There was British sterling made up in various bundles. I looked through it to make sure it was not paper but I didn't count it. I put it in a walk-in safe. I was the only one with the key," Mr Sheehan said.

The developer then gave Cunningham three euro cheques made out for €100,000 (£81,790), €44,000 (£35,996) and €56,000 (£45,813).

Mr Sheehan said that on February 17 he became aware that Cunningham was being investigated and he contacted the Garda.

"I told them I had dealings with Ted Cunningham. Two gardai came out. They went to the safe. Gardai counted it and it totalled £175,000. Gardai gave me a receipt and took it away."

The charges faced by Cunningham, of Woodbine Lodge, Farran, Co Cork, involve six counts totalling cash and cheques to a value of almost £600,000.

The trial continues on Monday and is expected to last three weeks.

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