25 March 2006

IRA chief gets €4m tax bill from Criminal Assets Bureau

Irish Independent

Tom Brady
Security Editor
25 March 2006

THE Criminal Assets Bureau has slapped a tax bill for more than €4m on the chief of staff of the Provisional IRA, Thomas "Slab" Murphy.

The tax bill was processed alongside the massive cross-border operation into his alleged involvement in a multi-million euro organised crime racket.

It was served on Murphy earlier this month after an assessment of his wealth was completed by financial experts on behalf of CAB.

Documentation and computer files seized in the cross-border raids as well as evidence gathered in the huge investigation last October will form a key part of the State's case if the tax assessment is challenged in the courts.

But lawyers acting for Murphy may seek to negotiate a settlement of the massive tax bill.

A detailed examination of the 30 boxes of documents taken from the homes of Slab Murphy, his brothers, Patrick and Francis, and the headquarters of Ace Oils Ltd, all with addresses at Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth, will take several months.

But an initial look at the paper trail has convinced garda officers that the network built up by Murphy and his associates along the border over the past couple of decades has ensured that it is very difficult to be involved in oil distribution activities there without his knowledge.

The High Court in Dublin this week granted an interim order to CAB freezing more than €1m in cash and cheques which had been seized in the cross-border searches.

The legal officer of CAB was appointed receiver and given the power to open up bank accounts to lodge the proceeds. The interim order was officially served on the Murphys on Thursday morning.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act the assets must be frozen for seven years before the State can seek an order from the High Court to confiscate them.

In an affidavit to the High Court, the head of CAB, Det Chief Supt Felix McKenna, said the discovery of the cash and cheques in black plastic bags in a cattle shed, some distance away from the houses and the business premises, indicated that the bags had been deliberately moved or concealed to prevent detection.

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