A male model who was allegedly caught at Belfast airport with €180,000 in his hand luggage is set to be extradited at a later date to Northern Ireland, where he is wanted over the laundering of crime cash.
Delivering his judgment today at the High Court, Mr Justice Paul Burns said Mark Adams had failed to adduce any cogent evidence to support the proposition that there was any real risk his fundamental rights would be breached if he was surrendered to authorities there.
Mr Adams (40), with an address at Castleheath, Malahide, Co Dublin, is alleged to have been in possession of €180,000 in two brown envelopes when stopped at Belfast International Airport while attempting to get a flight to Spain on May 9, 2018.
Northern Irish authorities are seeking his extradition on charges that he concealed the money in his hand luggage, and attempted to remove it from Northern Ireland on that date, knowing or suspecting the money to be proceeds of crime.
He is also facing prosecution for allegedly entering into an arrangement, namely the attempted removal of criminal property from Northern Ireland, and knowing or suspecting that this arrangement would facilitate the retention, use or control of such criminal property, by persons unknown, between May 13, 2013 and May 10, 2018. The offences each carry a maximum penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.
The respondent had booked 497 international flights into or out of the UK between May 14, 2014 and May 9, 2018. On 64 occasions, the outward and return flights were within a matter of hours.
Counsel for the State, Aoife Carroll BL, previously made an application to the court for Mr Adams' surrender and asked the court to "let the chips fall where they may". She submitted that the respondent's objections to surrender were speculative, vague, unsupported by evidence and were subject to innumerable variables so that the Court could not refuse surrender on foot of same.
Ms Carroll said she was satisfied surrender to the UK would not give rise to an unfair trial. She said nothing in the warrant was defective, nothing arose in relation to Brexit as the status quo remains in place, so surrender was not prohibited.
Furthermore, Ms Carroll said that if an order for surrender was made against Mr Adams, she would be asking the court to postpone an order for his surrender until domestic proceedings had been determined.
The court has heard that the respondent's position was complicated by the fact that he has been returned for trial before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in respect of money laundering offences - separate to the offences which are the subject matter of the extradition request - and his trial is due to take place in Dublin on June 29, 2021.
Mr Adams had contested his surrender at the High Court, with his lawyers submitting that he should not be extradited to Northern Ireland due to Brexit.
Counsel for Mr Adams, Paul Comiskey O’Keeffe BL, had submitted that if his client was convicted and sentenced in this jurisdiction there would be an infringement of his fair trial rights at a possible future trial in Northern Ireland as the UK would no longer be in the transitional period provided for in the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the European Union.
He further submitted that there was a real risk that the fundamental rights of the respondent would not be respected.
Ordering his surrender to the UK today, Mr Justice Burns said he was satisfied that the extradition of Mr Adams was not prohibited by part three of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003. In light of the domestic offences brought against Mr Adams, the judge postponed his surrender to the UK until a later date and remanded him in custody until July 19, 2021.
The EAW stated that Mr Adams was stopped at Belfast Airport by Border Force officers on May 9, 2018 travelling with only hand luggage. He was due to take an outbound flight to Alicante.
Mr Adams confirmed to Border Force officers that he had packed the bag himself, and when asked whether anyone had given him anything to take out of the country, he replied: “yes, €180,000”, according to the warrant.
The warrant stated that Mr Adams was interviewed under caution on May 10, 2018 and made no comment to questions asked in relation to the cash, his personal background, his employment status and financial position.