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Ex-Dublin Airport cop jailed for money laundering


The money seized at Belfast International Airport in 2018.

The money seized at Belfast International Airport in 2018.

The money seized at Belfast International Airport in 2018.

A former Dublin airport policeman thought to have laundered millions for criminal gangs has been jailed.

The National Crime Agency started an investigation into Mark Adams (42) – a former Dublin Airport policeman from Malahide – in May 2018 after he was stopped at Belfast International Airport before boarding a flight to Alicante.

Over 180,000 euros (£153,384) was found by Border Force in two folders in his hand luggage. Both had been disguised to look like they contained legally privileged documentation.

Adams had initially claimed he was going to a wedding, but checks by NCA investigators showed he was booked on a return flight just 80 minutes after he was due to touch down in Spain.
Further enquiries found that he had formally left his police job in February 2017 after a two-year career break, and that he had taken nearly 500 flights into or out of the UK in the preceding five years, often returning shortly after landing at his destination.

He was initially released on bail after his arrest but failed to return, prompting a European Arrest Warrant to be issued.

The reason for his disappearance soon emerged when Irish authorities charged him with four counts of money laundering, including one which saw him accused of trying to smuggle 500,000 euros (£425,849) out of Dublin Airport in 2015.

An Irish court later sentenced him to five years in prison.

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In August 2021, while he was still serving his sentence, he was transported by the Gardai to the border just south of Newry where he was picked up by NCA officers.

He was then taken to Antrim Magistrates to be charged for the offence he had committed in Northern Ireland.

Having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, a judge at Antrim Crown Court sentenced him on May 5 to 20 months in prison.

Commenting on the case, NCA Belfast Branch Commander David Cunningham said: “Mark Adams was clearly a serial money launderer on both sides of the Irish border, and as a former policeman he would have been well aware that what he was doing was wrong.

“Working with our Irish colleagues we were able to spot a pattern of him regularly traveling out of airports in both the Republic and UK, and returning home shortly afterwards.”

He said the sheer amount of flights taken by Adams indicated that he may have been responsible for laundering many millions of criminal money.

“Working with our law enforcement colleagues on both sides of the border we are determined to do all we can to disrupt the flow of illicit cash, and prevent organised criminals laundering their profits,” he said.

Darren Brabon, Interim Assistant Director for Northern Ireland Border Force Command said: “Clamping down on the export of undeclared cash from the UK is vital in our fight against organised criminal gangs.

“The sentence handed down to Adams today is the result of hard work and dedication from Border Force, the NCA and our partners in the Republic of Ireland to tackle dirty money.

“Those involved can be proud of their work and particularly those officers that intercepted and stopped Adams in his tracks.”

A Public Prosecution Service spokesperson said: “The PPS case sections of Fraud and High Court and International worked in partnership with the National Crime Agency to compile a strong body of evidence in this case and have this individual produced to the court in Northern Ireland.

“These types of crimes know no borders and this conviction sends a clear message that criminal justice agencies will work collaboratively to bring money launderers and those involved in any organised crime before the courts, where there is the evidence to do so.”

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