Gardai seize €1m, raid 11 properties in tax evasion probe
GARDAI yesterday seized almost €1m in cash and bank deposits in a series of searches linked to an operation targeting a gang suspected of being involved in major tax evasion.
The operation was spearheaded by local gardai and detectives from the Criminal Assets Bureau and focused on homes and premises in the Ballina area of north Mayo.
It was the culmination of a two-year investigation by local officers into the activities of a gang believed to have been heavily involved in importing goods from the UK without paying any taxes or duties.
The gang, based in Ballina but closely connected to other groups resident in the UK, was selling the goods in street markets and door-to-door in the north Mayo region.
A total of 11 searches were carried out yesterday morning and afternoon.
One of the premises raided was a solicitor's office while others included luxury homes owned by some of the suspects.
Gardai seized a large amount of documentation and uncovered a number of bank accounts, which contained most of the seized money. A substantial amount of cash in euro and sterling was also found in the house searches.
Gardai also seized an expensive jeep and a Mercedes car and took them away for forensic examination.
Members of the Criminal Assets Bureau are expected to work in close liaison with the Revenue Commissioners in an examination of the seized documentation.
No arrests were made but gardai said inquiries into the suspects and their alleged links to organised crime would continue throughout the coming weeks.