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Convicted IRA man reaches €500k settlement with CAB

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Donna Maguire, who was arrested with her husband Leonard Hardy by Spanish authorities last week.

Donna Maguire, who was arrested with her husband Leonard Hardy by Spanish authorities last week.

Donna Maguire, who was arrested with her husband Leonard Hardy by Spanish authorities last week.

Convicted IRA terrorist Leonard Hardy, who is currently in custody in Spain for allegedly being involved in money laundering, has reached settlement here for almost €500,000 with the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

Hardy and his wife, Donna Maguire, were both arrested by the Spanish authorities in the Canaries last week, following an investigation into the laundering of millions of euro netted from alleged trafficking in counterfeit cigarettes.

Maguire has since been released but Hardy remained in custody last night.

The two were part of a Provisional IRA unit that had been active on mainland Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s and were subsequently convicted of terrorist offences. They currently live in Dundalk, Co Louth.

Hardy was on a bureau "hit" list of 240 figures, who include their prime targets for the coming year.

Last July, Hardy was fined €10,000 in Dublin Circuit Court for tax irregularities after the bureau sent a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

He was also served with a tax bill for more than €500,000 by the bureau. But he has since reached a settlement for slightly less than that figure and has started paying off his tax debt.

Six teams, comprised of investigating garda officers, revenue staff and social welfare officials as well as forensic analysts, are being deployed to track down the assets of those on the list and build up a case to secure their confiscation.

Most of the cases now have an international dimension as previous bureau successes are forcing those suspected of benefiting from the proceeds of crime to seek overseas boltholes for their vast profits.

A significant portion of the cash has been invested in English cities, particularly Manchester, and on mainland Europe.

The bureau has been building up close relationships with similar agencies in other countries in a bid to find those hidden assets and seize them.

One officer told the Irish Independent: "The ability to provide expert evidence in the courts when seeking orders to freeze and then confiscate assets has never been more important.

"It is now a key factor in building up a case that will stand up to close scrutiny legally, and wealthy criminals are forever seeking loopholes to hold onto the assets with the assistance of their advisers," he added.

Drug traffickers comprise the biggest group on the target list. But it also includes the names of former Provisional IRA and dissident republican activists, oil launderers, cigarette smugglers, fraudsters and burglars.

Irish Independent