Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Two men held over Northern Bank cash haul

Gardai have arrested two men for questioning about membership of an illegal organisation in an operation linked to the Northern Bank robbery probe.

The two men — who were both arrested in Cork — were being questioned last night about suspected membership of the IRA.

The gardai move is part of Operation Phoenix — the five-year-old probe into the Northern Bank robbery and the laundering of the huge cash haul.

The arrests came less than three weeks after businessman Ted Cunningham (60) was jailed for 10 years for attempting to launder some of the £26.5m proceeds of the Northern Bank robbery.

Cunningham remains the only man to be jailed arising from the robbery, though gardai stressed he had no involvement in the raid itself and was merely involved in laundering some of the cash proceeds.

Cunningham ran a Cork-based financial operation, Chesterton Finance, and almost £2.3m in Northern Bank cash was discovered by gardai in a locked cupboard in the basement of his home during a raid in February 2005.

The robbery of the Northern Bank’s cash centre at Donegall Square in Belfast in December 2004 still ranks as one of the world’s biggest robberies.

Yesterday, gardai arrested two men in separate operations in Cork — one in Douglas and one in Passage West. One man is in his mid-40s while the other is in his early 60s.

Both were being questioned last night about membership of an illegal organisation — and a decision will be made today on whether to release or charge the men.

Gardai refused to comment last night on whether the men may have had connections or dealings with Ted Cunningham.

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