THE son of a former TD was arrested by gardai investigating a plot to murder three people – after he allegedly met undercover detectives and offered them €10,000 to kill an accountant.
Yesterday’s arrest is believed to be linked to a separate incident in which a letter bomb was sent to an official in the Revenue Commissioners in recent months.
And it is understood that the murder plot is also connected to a separate investigation by the Fraud Squad and the Revenue Commissioners into alleged mortgage fraud, which began two years ago.
The man who was arrested was still being questioned last night on suspicion of conspiracy to murder, as part of a major investigation which was launched last month.
The probe was sparked after gardai received information that a man had been making enquiries about hiring a professional hitman.
It is understood that the suspect told an associate that he wanted three named people murdered – an accountant, a fraud-squad detective and an official in the Revenue Commissioners.
Undercover officers, posing as contract killers, met with the suspect in Munster two weeks ago when he offered them €10,000 to have the accountant shot.
This led to the man, who is connected to a high-profile political family, being detained at his home yesterday.
Detectives had already been investigating the alleged intimidation of a number of other individuals in the Munster area who were linked to the ongoing fraud inquiry.
This included bullets that were received in the post by an accountant in recent weeks.
It is all thought to be linked to the allegations of mortgage fraud which concern the period 2005 to 2008.
The ongoing fraud probe is focused on the alleged falsification of documents to obtain mortgages, and the misappropriation of funds from clients that should have been paid to banks on their behalf.
But the probe into the murder plot was stepped up when the accountant became concerned about his safety.
He was particularly concerned for his family, with threats apparently also being levelled against them.
He increased his personal security on the advice of gardai.
He was in a business dispute with the suspect some 18 months ago, it is understood.
Garda concerns had heightened when it emerged that the suspect indicated he was also in dispute with two other people and might have to "deal" with them. There was also a separate incident in which a letter bomb was sent to a Revenue official in recent months.
The Army bomb squad later confirmed that it was a viable improvised explosive device, and had malfunctioned after being posted.
The Irish Independent understands that the man was last night being questioned about his meeting with the undercover gardai and the plot to hire a hitman.
The suspect can be held for up to seven days before a decision is made whether to refer charges, which could include conspiracy to solicit another person to commit murder.
The man was previously arrested by detectives from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation in November 2011, when he was questioned about alleged offences under the Criminal Justice Fraud and Theft Act.
However, he has a history of mental health issues and has been attending a psychiatrist for some time.
These problems are now central to the garda investigation.
The man is understood to be in a distressed condition in custody, which has complicated garda efforts to question him.
His family was totally unaware of the matter, and was last night said to be "absolutely appalled" by the developments.