Sunday Life

UDA chief in slammer bets probe

By Stephen Breen

18 January 2004
A PROBE is under way at a crisis-hit Ulster jail, after a prison officer was accused of placing bets for caged loyalist, Andre Shoukri.

Sunday Life has learned an investigation was launched, at Maghaberry prison, after an employee was allegedly caught putting on a number of £600 telephone bets, for the UDA's north Belfast 'brigadier'.

It is believed the man may have been intimidated into placing bets for the feared UDA boss.

It is understood the officer has been accused of placing horse racing and football bets for Shoukri, 25.

The latest development comes after loyalist inmates went on a 10-hour wrecking spree at the jail, on Wednesday.

Shoukri - believed to be a heavy gambler - is due for release in March.

It is not clear when the alleged betting incidents occurred.

Said a jail source: "It is the talk of the jail. Nobody knows if the man was putting on these telephone bets for Shoukri, because of pressure from the paramilitaries or for cash.

"Everyone knows the matter is now being investigated, and it will be interesting to see what the authorities do about it."

A spokesman for the Prison Service told Sunday Life the allegations against the prison officer were being investigated.

He added: "The investigation includes the influence prisoners are trying to exert over staff."

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