Financier avoids jail for money laundering

Suspended term imposed on man caught with Northern Bank robbery cash

A 65-year-old financial adviser has been given a five-year suspended sentence for his part in the money laundering of about £275,000 of the £26.5 million stolen in the Northern Bank robbery in Belfast almost 10 years ago.

Ted Cunningham of Woodbine Lodge, Farran, Co Cork, was sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday after pleading guilty last week to two counts of money laundering four days into his trial on nine counts of money laundering.

Cunningham pleaded guilty to money laundering £100,040 on January 15th, 2005, by transferring it to John Douglas in Tullamore, Co Offaly, and in doing so being reckless to it being the proceeds of the Northern Bank robbery.

He also pleaded guilty to money laundering £175,360 on February 7th, 2005, by transferring it to John Sheehan in Ballincollig, Co Cork, and receiving three cheques totalling €200,000.

Yesterday, Insp Colm Noonan outlined the background to the case when an armed IRA gang held up the Northern Bank Cash Centre at Donegall Square West in Belfast on December 20th, 2004, in what was the biggest bank robbery to date on the island.

“It was an extremely sophisticated operation involving the use of firearms, a large number of personnel over a 24-hour period and it is the view of those investigating the robbery that it was carried out by the IRA,” said Insp Noonan.

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