High Court refers Sean Garland alleged US super-forgery plot to DPP
Published 27/01/2012 | 13:47
IRELAND’S state prosecutors have been asked to examine whether veteran Republican Sean Garland should be charged over an alleged US super-dollar forgery plot.
The High Court referred the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions office after refusing an extradition request from American authorities for the 77-year-old former Workers Party president.
The US Secret Service had accused Mr Garland of conspiring to circulate high-grade counterfeit dollar bills throughout the 1990s in a plot which included North Korea, Russian spies and the one-time leader of the Official IRA.
Mr Justice John Edwards made the referral to the DPP based on US claims that much of the alleged forgery plot took place on Irish soil.
Lawyers for Mr Garland said: "All these allegations made by the Americans have been in the public domain for years."
Mr Garland was first arrested on foot of the US extradition warrant in 2005 in Northern Ireland. He then fled to Dublin when he was released on bail.
The ex-IRA leader, who has always protested his innocence, was later arrested in 2009 and released on strict bail conditions, which included surrendering the deeds to his family home.
Mr Justice John Edwards, who ruled in December the extradition application would be refused, announced today that the deeds to Mr Garland's house would be released along with his passport and cash bail of 75,000 euro (£63,000).
More than 110 parliamentarians from the Dail, Seanad, the Northern Ireland Assembly and Westminster have supported Mr Garland's extradition fight, as well as the Rev Chris Hudson, chair of the Stop Extradition of Sean Garland campaign.
"The US extradition demand was a vindictive act by the former Bush administration designed to punish and isolate North Korea and anyone who had connections with the country," said Rev Hudson.
"It is important to re-emphasise that this has been a horrendous six-year ordeal for Sean, his family and friends."
Mr Garland was a former IRA leader in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was a key figure in securing the official IRA ceasefire of May 1972.