THE disclosure in an Italian court this week that police there believe they have found links between the IRA and one of Italy's deadliest mafias shouldn't have taken anyone by surprise.
After all, throughout the early part of the last decade the Provisionals spread their tentacles right across Europe as they sought to launder ill-gotten gains as the peace process brought their war to a close.
And if the Provos were happy to do business with the FARC – the Colombian narco-terrorist group – by providing training to its members in return for millions of dollars, then a link-up with the bloodthirsty 'Ndrangheta mafia is also highly plausible.
For years, security services, here and in Britain, have been tracking a tangled web of property investments in the UK, Spain and Bulgaria.
Now it seems Italy can be added to that list.
A briefing given by a senior garda to a US diplomat, details of which were obtained by the Irish Independent two years ago, outlined how the IRA used "apparently respectable" businessmen to build up its continental portfolio.
The garda explained in clear terms how, during the boom years, the IRA diversified away from smuggling, robbery and racketeering and moved into "more sophisticated business enterprises".
According to the garda, IRA money was constantly moving, flowing from diversified sources into wide-ranging investments.
He briefed that IRA investments now included real estate ventures in Dublin, London and Spanish resorts, and were being handled by apparently respectable businessmen.
One example of this "diversification" was the courting by IRA members of Bulgarian investors to consider purchasing land for a nursing home.
A number of figures had also travelled to Bulgaria "to register questionable companies".
However, what is different about the latest revelations is that a police force has actually publicly identified the IRA figure they believe to have been involved.