Sunday 25 February 2018

Jim Tighe extradition fight on alleged £100m money laundering conspiracy adjourned

Niamh O’Donoghue

A man wanted in the UK in connection with an alleged £100 million money laundering conspiracy, has had his case adjourned for a further three weeks as his extradition judgment is not ready.

James Anthony Tighe (64) is wanted by British authorities to face charges alleging that he was at the centre of a large-scale fraud on the UK public revenue.

The High Court previously heard the charges allege that a large amount of construction companies under the management and control of Mr Tighe were used to systematically defraud the Revenue.

The UK is seeking his surrender to face charges relating to conspiracy to cheat the public revenue, one charge of cheating the public revenue and one charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 2005.

Mr Tighe, of Pettiswood, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, was arrested in July 2012 on foot of a European Arrest Warrant endorsed in September 2011.

The arrest warrant is part of a second attempt by the UK authorities to have Mr Tighe extradited from Ireland.

Today, Mr Justice John Edwards told Mr Tighe his judgment was not yet ready.

He remanded Mr Tighe on continuing bail until March 18 next.

Mr Justice Edwards said he was putting the case back to be mentioned again in three weeks and if the judgment is ready on that date he would list it for the following Friday to deliver it.

A previous High Court ruling that Mr Tighe could be surrendered to the UK was overturned by the Supreme Court in December 2010, after it was found a European Arrest warrant issued by the authorities there contained an inadequate description and specification of the alleged money laundering offence and had given conflicting classifications of the remaining charges.

Counsel for the Minister of Justice and Equality, Mr Patrick McGrath SC, previously told the High Court that the money laundering charge involved the alleged conspiracy to launder proceeds of criminal conduct, namely cheating the public revenue, amounting to £100 million.

He said the charges relating to conspiracy to cheat the public revenue alleged a loss to the revenue in excess of £10 million, while the charge of cheating the public revenue alleged a failure to make income tax payments on £2 million held in a personal bank account.

Mr McGrath said the papers outlined that Mr Tighe would seek an order refusing his extradition due to a number of factors, including the adverse impact of the various delays in proceedings, which began in 2006 and referred to events in 1997.

Counsel said Mr Tighe submitted that his constitutional rights had been breached, that the extradition request had caused him stress and that it has had a detrimental impact on his own health and the health of his family members.

He said that Mr Tighe had raised a number of other points of objection to this surrender, including that the request was oppressive and unjust and that he had suffered from an abuse of process.

Mr McGrath said that an affidavit sworn by Mr Tighe outlined that he had “already been put through a nightmare” when his surrender was sought by the UK authorities in 2008.

Counsel said it was also asserted that Mr Tighe’s daughter Lorraine had been a candidate in the “Apprentice UK” television series but had to leave that programme due to the publicity surrounding the case.

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