Three gardaí suspected of hindering prosecutions
Three released after questioning in anti-corruption crackdown
The probe into allegations of Garda corruption will examine whether suspected co-operation between some officers and members of an organised crime gang prevented prosecutions.
Detectives will focus on whether the evidence indicates that there was improper interference in criminal investigations. This could have contributed to charges not being brought against suspects.
Three officers including a superintendent and inspector were arrested for questioning in an unprecedented move for the force on Thursday.
After the release of the three officers, who also include a detective garda, the investigation will now enter a new phase.
Officers say the arrests have also sent a significant signal to others who may have information that could be deemed relevant to their inquiries and have yet to come forward. It shows the force is treating the allegations very seriously and is determined to establish the truth.
It emerged a businessman who is suspected of laundering money for a number of criminal gangs across the country is at the centre of the probe into alleged Garda corruption.
Gardaí are investigating if he has been using a successful and seemingly legitimate business to launder cash for criminal gangs.
New lines of inquiry are being opened up following the arrests as the scope of the investigation is widened.
A garda superintendent, who was one of the three officers detained on Thursday, was released from custody yesterday morning.
He was suspended from duty following his release. A file on his case will now be prepared by investigating officers for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will determine if criminal charges should be brought.
He was questioned throughout Thursday and into the early hours of yesterday about a suspected breach of the Garda Síochána Act by allegedly disclosing information, obtained during the course of his duties, to another, knowing that the disclosure was likely to have a harmful effect.
A detective garda, who was arrested for suspected conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, was also questioned into the early hours and released.
He had already been suspended from duty following his earlier arrest on a suspected separate offence.
Both men had opted to continue their questioning into yesterday morning rather than opting for a rest period of up to eight hours during the night.
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A garda inspector, detained for suspected breaches of the Misuse of Drugs Act, was released without charge on Thursday night. He was also suspended with a file being prepared for the DPP.
The anti-corruption investigation, which has been under way for the past 10 months, is being carried out by members of the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI).
It has included covert surveillance on known criminals and intercepts of their mobile phone usage.
The probe has already looked at the suspected leaking of information by gardaí to members of the major crime gang, which has been operating on a wide scale.
This included information about a planned search and seize operation last year by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), targeting members of the gang and other criminal associates with loose connections to that network.
The leaks were said to have compromised that operation, which was then put on hold while further inquiries were made.
The CAB raids went ahead earlier this year.
The searches were carried out without the knowledge of local gardaí and all of those involved were from CAB and personnel from the Garda national units.
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