independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Passport office staff arrested in fraud probe

The Passport Office on Molesworth Street
The Passport Office on Molesworth Street

TWO people have been arrested by gardai investigating cases of alleged fraudulent activity at the Passport Service.

The suspects, both employees at the office on Molesworth Street, Dublin, were held yesterday after an internal probe was launched last autumn.

It is believed that the man and the woman, who were taken to Pearse Street Garda Station for questioning, were working for a criminal from the East Wall area of north inner city Dublin.

A source told the Herald that the criminal in question is believed to be connected to a gangland feud and had previously served a jail sentence over a firearms offence.

This is the second time gardai have investigated alleged passport fraud within the service in the past 12 months.

A spokesman from the Department of Foreign Affairs last night confirmed they were assisting in the joint Passport Service/garda investigation.

The spokesman added that the department took the issue of passport fraud “very seriously”.

And they added that customers service would remain unaffected in the meantime.

irregularities

The Passport Service launched its own probe at the end of |last year after internal checks highlighted a number of “irregularities” in the processing of three passports.

The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation was informed and a joint investigation was opened.

Gardai confirmed that the woman who was arrested yesterday had since been released, but said that the man remained in custody last night.

The Department of |Foreign Affairs said that the current investigation was separate to the probe into the other suspected case of passport fraud.

That case is believed to have involved supplying travel papers to foreign gangsters.

The spokesman confirmed that the individuals involved in both cases were different.

They also revealed that the two employees implicated in the older case no longer worked for the Passport Service.

However, the representative confirmed to the Herald that the suspects questioned at that time were continuing to help gardai with their inquiries.

hnews@herald.ie

Irish Independent

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