Tiger gang planned to launder cash through car sales
THE crime gang responsible for last week's €300,000 tiger kidnapping are believed to have been planning to launder their loot through a second-hand car business.
However, their plans were disrupted by a series of garda raids in three counties last weekend when officers recovered a third of the bank haul.
Last night two of five men detained following the garda swoops in counties Dublin, Kildare and Meath were still being questioned by gardai.
Their period of detention was extended for another three days in the District Court yesterday following an application by the gardai.
The two west Dublin men were being held last night under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, which gives gardai the power to question them about their suspected involvement in kidnapping, robbery and the possession of firearms for up to a week without charge.
The three other men were all released on Sunday night, pending a file being sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions who will determine if criminal charges should be brought against them.
Gardai also regard the two in custody as suspects for a couple of other tiger raids in the capital in the past two years, including a €270,000 robbery last January when a grandmother and a 9-year-old girl were held hostage to force a security guard to collect the cash for the criminals.
Gardai believe the gang was preparing to stash the money before it could be laundered when they carried out their raids on Saturday.
Detectives found €60,000 in the attic of a rented house in Kilcock in north Kildare and detained one man, who ran out the back door and across a number of gardens before being arrested. Three others were detained in a car parked nearby.
Gardai recovered a further €17,000, which was in the possession of one of the suspects while further sums amounting to €20,000 were discovered in searches in Lucan and Navan.
The manager of the Allied Irish Banks branch in Clondalkin, Tony Walsh and his wife, Anne, who were both held captive overnight in their home at Domville Drive in Templeogue, have both given detailed statements to the gardai although they have not yet fully recovered from their traumatic ordeal.
The weekend arrests were hailed yesterday by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern and Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, who both said that a major investigation into the tiger kidnap was under way.
Mr Ahern said professional work by gardai in the past had thwarted attempts by crime gangs to focus on cash-in-transit shipments.