17 November 2005

Source claims Andre Shoukri’s latest stint in prison marks the end of his paramilitary career

Daily Ireland

UDA leader ‘to be out within week’

Ciarán Barnes

Ulster Defence Association (UDA) chief Andre Shoukri will be officially stood down by the paramilitary group within the next week, loyalist sources said yesterday.
The move to oust the 27-year-old comes at a time when almost the entire leadership of the north Belfast UDA is behind bars.
It is understood the UDA’s ruling Inner Council will use this as an opportunity to remove Shoukri and his gang in the coming days.
Last Friday Shoukri and his second in command William ‘Bonzo’ Boreland were remanded in custody on charges of blackmail, intimidation and money-laundering.
On November 1 leading north Belfast loyalist and Shoukri associate, Garry ‘Jock’ McKenzie, was remanded in custody on allegations of riotous assembly.
The arrests came six months after the paramilitary described as Shoukri’s ‘enforcer’ - convicted UDA killer Robert Molyneaux - was remanded in custody on blackmail charges.
Shoukri, Boreland and McKenzie also have convictions for blackmail. Along with Shoukri’s brother, Ihab Shoukri, they each were sentenced to two years in prison in 1997 for extorting money from a Catholic businessman.
Ihab Shoukri is currently on bail awaiting trial for UDA membership.
Last weekend supporters of the Shoukri gang attempted to install convicted loyalist blackmailer Tommy Potts as the organisation’s new north Belfast boss.
However, the appointment was rejected by the UDA Inner Council which is grooming a well-spoken loyalist who is heavily involved in interface work for the role.
Potts, who is loyal to Shoukri, was recently released from prison after serving two and a half years for extortion.
Shortly after being freed Potts, under orders from Shoukri, started a poison pen campaign against South Belfast UDA leader and convicted extortionist Jackie McDonald.
McDonald is the paramilitary boss leading the charge to have Shoukri thrown out of the UDA. He represents the UDA old guard and wants to politicise the organisation.
A north Belfast UDA source predicted that Shoukri’s latest stint in prison will finish his paramilitary career.
“Everything is in place to bring him down and something definite should happen within the next week.
“Shoukri and his gang are finished as a force in north Belfast.”

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