UK news The £10m Provo pension bonanza last news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has claimed £10m in untraceable cash stolen during the Northern Bank robbery may have been used as a Provo pension fund to buy off the IRA old guard during the peace process.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! "Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has claimed £10m in untraceable cash stolen during the Northern Bank robbery may have been used as a Provo pension fund to buy off the IRA old guard during the peace process. The former Irish premier makes the claim in a new BBC documentary about the £26.5m heist, and is backed up by former PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde, who said he didn't "disagree" with Mr Ahern's statement. The 2004 raid was the biggest bank job in UK history at the time. The robbers have never been brought to justice, although it is widely believed to have been the work of the Provisional IRA.Shortly after the heist, £16.5m worth of the stolen money was rendered worthless after the bank pulled the freshly printed notes from circulation. But £10m in used and untraceable notes has never been accounted for, and in a new BBC documentary focusing on the notorious robbery, former Taoiseach Mr Ahern said: "The view of those people that might have known, that I asked, told me it was as simple or as complicated as this: that it was the pension fund... for the guys who were pulling away from IRA activities."His claim is backed up by the then PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde, who said: "I don't disagree with that. Whilst it's entirely unjustifiable - of course it is - if you are trying to keep people on board and keep them behaving in a way within the context of a peace process, that would be an understandable thing for them to try and do, to almost pay them off, I suppose." Heist: The Northern Bank Robbery, featuring journalists Darragh MacIntyre and Sam McBride, tells the story of what was the biggest heist in UK history just days before Christmas in December 2004.The gang of criminals took two families hostage for 24 hours, forcing two bank employees to rob £26.5m in cash from the Northern Bank in Belfast city centre.
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.The programme also looks into where the £26.5m may have gone after it was swiped from the bank vaults.It is thought the IRA used an extensive existing network of businesses and investment vehicles to launder the cash both across the island of Ireland and abroad. Speaking in the BBC documentary, the former head of the Assets Recovery Agency in Belfast, Alan McQuillan, said: "I think it was absolutely right to take those notes out of circulation, but the reality was that a proportion of those could well have been laundered by the time the action happened."The IRA already had a substantial network stretching to various countries around the world where they could send money, get it converted into property or other transactions and then it would gradually be filtered back into the UK or Ireland in a form that appeared to be legitimate." West Belfast man Chris Ward, one of the bank employees coerced into helping the criminals rob the Northern Bank, was tried for robbery and false imprisonment in 2008.However, he was acquitted of all charges after prosecutors accepted that a work rota alteration which underpinned their case had been "the result of a chance decision by management".Ward's defence lawyer Niall Murphy claimed at the time he had been the victim of a "Kafkaesque farce". In March 2009, financial adviser Ted Cunningham, from Cork, was convicted in the Republic of Ireland for laundering over £3m which came from the robbery. His son Timothy was also convicted of money laundering. Cunningham's conviction was later overturned, and during a retrial in 2014 he pleaded guilty and received a five-year suspended sentence on two counts of laundering around £275,000. He avoided imprisonment because of his ill-health and his promise to resign from his role with money-lending firm Chesterton Finance.Sums of £2.985m and €45,000 which had been impounded during police raids were forfeited to the state, and Cunningham sued Northern Bank last year regarding the impounded money, alleging it had been seized improperly.Heist: The Northern Bank Robbery is on BBC One Northern Ireland tomorrow at 9pm"
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