Businessman with links to crime gangs at heart of alleged garda corruption investigation
A businessman who is suspected of laundering money for a number of criminal gangs across the country is at the centre of a probe into alleged Garda corruption.
Gardaí are investigating if he has been using a successful and seemingly legitimate business to launder cash for gangs involved in the drugs trade.
He acts as an agent by 'cleaning' drug money through an import-export business that has a number of outlets in Ireland.
As part of a long-running investigation into the suspected criminal, senior gardaí became concerned about his ties to officers in the south of the country.
Intercepted mobile phone communications led senior officers to believe that the businessman may have received Garda information.
An investigation was launched by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), which is based in Dublin.
The money launderer is linked to a number of criminal outfits, including a gang involved in labour exploitation, counterfeiting, Tarmac scams, and tobacco smuggling. Their activities also include drugs trafficking and violent extortion offences in Ireland, as well as international crimes.
"They are into everything, that crew, from drugs to burglaries," a source said last night.
He said if senior gardaí were found to have any involvement with the gang, it would be "simply shocking - just unbelievable" for other members of the force.
The superintendent and a rank-and-file garda arrested as part of a corruption probe within the force have been released without charge.
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A garda inspector was released on Thursday evening and they are all suspended from duties.
Deputy Commissioner John Twomey said: "An Garda Síochána is fully committed to investigating any alleged wrongdoing or corruption involving Garda personnel, and will work with other relevant agencies in doing so."
The arrest operation involved the NBCI and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (NDOCB).