A MAN has been jailed after he was caught with €1.7m – part of the proceeds of a bank heist following a tiger kidnapping.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that €7.66m was taken from the Bank of Ireland, College Green, on February 26, 2009, after a staff member, his girlfriend and her family were held by armed men at their home in Kilteel, Co Kildare.
Darren O'Brien (27), of North Strand, Dublin 3, pleaded guilty to handling stolen cash in Dublin 7 on February 27, 2009. He has 27 previous convictions, including possession of a firearm with intent.
A co-accused, Mark Donoghue (42), of Kileen, Legen, Longford, had received a five-year term, with two suspended, in March 2010. He had pleaded guilty to money-laundering.
Una Ni Raifeartaigh, prosecuting, told Judge Desmond Hogan yesterday that the Director of Public Prosecutions was not suggesting O'Brien was involved in the bank robbery or that he had any knowledge of the tiger kidnapping.
She suggested, however, that the court "could draw an inference", considering the quantity of cash he was carrying, that he knew it was from a robbery.
The judge sentenced O'Brien to seven years, with 12 months suspended, and gave him credit for 18 months spent on remand awaiting sentence.
The court heard that gardai had an address in Great Western Villas, Dublin 7, under surveillance hours after the robbery.
O'Brien was seen going into a house, carrying a holdall. He left without it. A blue Volkswagen later arrived into the estate, along with an Opel Astra, driven by Donoghue. The holdall was placed in the Astra.
Donoghue was arrested at the junction of the N3 with the M50. The holdall, with €1.74m in cash, was found in the boot. Analysis linked it to the money taken in the robbery that day.