Money may be 'linked' to £26.5m robbery

A sum of money found in Belfast may be linked to the Northern Bank robbery, police have said.

The cash was found at the Newforge Country Club and police say it may be an effort to distract investigations into the £26.5m Belfast robbery.

Four people are being questioned after £2m, £60,000 of it in Northern Bank notes, was seized in the Irish Republic. Four were released earlier.

Both cash seizures are being tested to see if they are linked to the raid.

On Friday night, two men arrested earlier this week in Cork in connection with alleged money laundering were released without charge.

Two men from Derry, arrested in Dublin on Wednesday, were also released without charge, pending a report to the DPP.

A man was arrested on Friday night after police received reports of cash being burnt in a garden near Cork city.

Martin McGuinness said the arrests were not an embarrassment

Earlier, 17 bags of sterling bank notes were removed from a house near Cork.

Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy told a news conference an additional £175,000 had been surrendered to police in Dublin on Thursday night.

He said police were still in the early stages of their investigation.

"We see a subversive element in the movement of this money," he said.

"We are following quite a number of lines as to where the money may have come from, and naturally enough, one of those relates to the Northern Bank robbery."

Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness denied that the ongoing arrests, charges and criminal investigation were a massive embarrassment to his party.

"Well I haven't really heard anything thus far that would change my assessment, but that does not mean that we won't reflect on events as they unfold in Dublin and Cork over the course of the coming days," he said.

"I want to hear the full facts, not the fiction, of what we are dealing with at the moment."


In a separate development, a former Sinn Fein vice president, Phil Flynn, resigned from an Irish government committee over his links with a company at the centre of the investigation.

He has also stepped down as chairman of the Bank of Scotland's Irish division.

Mr Flynn said he had done nothing wrong and had no involvement in laundering money for anyone.

Meanwhile, a man arrested in connection with alleged money laundering has been charged with membership of the Real IRA.

Don Bullman, 30, of Wilton, Cork, was one of three men arrested after 94,000 euros were found in a car in Dublin.

A police officer told the Special Criminal Court in Dublin on Friday he believed the notes were part of an IRA money laundering operation.

The cash was in a box of washing powder in a Northern Ireland registered car.

The father-of-three was remanded in custody.

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