15 March 2006

Shoukri 'put at risk of murder'

Belfast Telegraph

By Jonathan McCambridge
15 March 2006

An alleged leading figure in the north Belfast UDA could have been put at risk of assassination after details of his gambling habits were made public, a court was today told.

Andre Shoukri (27), of Albertbridge Road in Carrickfergus, who is facing charges of blackmail, intimidation and money laundering, gambled up to £25,000 on single occasions, Belfast High Court heard during a bail application.

The hearing heard the charges relate to incidents at Bonapartes Bar on the Cavehill Road in 2004.

Crown counsel David Hopley told the court that Shoukri and a co-accused had approached the bar manager, known as Witness A, and demanded £1,000 a week.

Counsel said that Shoukri had agreed on a reduced amount of £200 a week which was paid to him by cheque and later by cash.

Mr Hopley also said that Shoukri was receiving a "split of money" from gaming machines which were in Bonapartes Bar.

He said Witness A was "effectively thrown out of her bar by the actions of this group" and that she contacted the police who recorded telephone calls and also seized papers as part of their investigation.

Mr Hopley told the court that in June 2005 Shoukri had directed Witness A to lodge a cheque in Bonapartes business account which was from Stanleybet Bookmakers for £6,000.

He said: "The cheque was put in on the basis that it was for a function which never occurred, effectively the money was being laundered."

He said that an investigation by police discovered that Shoukri had bet £863,000 at the Stanleybet Bookmakers on the York Road between April 2003 and August 2005.

Defence counsel Arthur Harvey QC said his client had obtained a high profile through the "deliberate leak of information to the press" after legal proceedings had begun.

Mr Harvey said that the leaking of details about his client had potentially earmarked him "as a candidate for assassination from individuals who believe his behaviour is not what they demand or require".

Lord Justice Nicholson adjourned the application, but added: "I must say that from what I have been told the chances of this man getting bail are not high."

Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?