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Aer Lingus probe as Wallace's jeep found in free staff car park

AER LINGUS has launched an investigation into how the vehicle of tax cheat Mick Wallace gained access to its private car park, the Herald has learned.

As the controversy over his tax affairs rages on, the under-fire TD appears to have slipped off to Poznan to cheer on the 'boys in green'.

The Wexford TD was seen enjoying a pint of Guinness in the departure lounge of Dublin Airport on Friday - where he is believed to have caught a flight to Poland.

And Mr Wallace is in for a nasty surprise when he returns from his travels.

Aer Lingus has confirmed that his €60,000 jeep was found parked illegally in the company's staff car park.

The airline ordered officials to tow the vehicle - which will leave Mr Wallace with a bill of up to €280.

"We were informed that Mr Wallace's car was parked in the staff car park. Like all unauthorised vehicles, it is being removed," an Aer Lingus spokesperson said.

The Herald has learned that the airline has launched a probe into how Mr Wallace gained access to the private car park.

The BMW X5 vehicle was parked close to the cargo area of the airport - ironically the same section where his close friend and Dail colleague Clare Daly previously worked.

Both Mr Wallace and Ms Daly were unavailable for comment today.

The former builder is set to have a major headache when he returns from his travels to see that his four-by-four BMW is in the airport's compound.

He faces being slapped with a towing fee of €140, as well as up to €140 more in storage charges.

By parking in the private car park, Mr Wallace avoided the €8.50 daily charges imposed on all law-abiding citizens.

The controversy comes just days after Mr Wallace vowed to stay on as a TD in an emotional 10-minute speech in the Dail.

Sources close to him told the Herald that he hoped his pledge to give half his salary towards paying his €2.1m revenue debt would "draw a line" under the scandal.

However, the 56-year-old is still facing serious questions in relation to the deal he struck with the Revenue Commissioners.

And he has yet to address other serious issues, such as why he doubled the salary paid to him and his son when his company was teetering on the brink.

And he also faces questions in relation to his Italian vineyard and villa - which he transferred to his brother Joseph just before the Revenue Commissioners swooped in 2009.

Pressure is mounting on him to quash suggestions that the transfer was made to ensure the villa was out of the taxman's reach. The Dail Committee on members' interests are continuing to investigate what action, if any, is taken against the TD.