The Money Lender

By Eoin English, Seán O’Riordan and Dan Buckley

THIS is the man gardaí are questioning in connection with money laundering for the IRA after £2.3m was found in his house in Farran, Co Cork.

Ted Cunningham, 57, is a director of at least 10 companies, including one called Wolfe Tone Holdings Ltd.

Originally from Macroom, Co Cork, Mr Cunningham is a registered moneylender. He set up a private lending agency in 1995.

He has company offices in Ballincollig, Co Cork, registered with the Companies Registration Office as Financial and Legal Clients Ltd.

These offices were raided at 9am yesterday and documents seized.

Ted Cunningham’s bungalow in Farran was later searched and £2.3m was recovered hidden in a green compost bin at the back of the house. Mr Cunningham shares the house with his partner Cathy Armstrong and his son, Tim.

Both Ted Cunningham and Ms Armstrong were arrested yesterday and detained for questioning in relation to money laundering under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act. They can be held for up to 72 hours. They were being questioned last night at the Bridewell Garda Station in Cork City.

Tim Cunningham was not arrested and there is no suggestion of any impropriety on his part. Ted Cunningham was placed under surveillance by Special Branch detectives after he was witnessed attending a meeting with a pair of Bulgarian arms dealers who travelled to Ireland six months ago.

It is believed he had secured contracts to launder as much as €10m in republican money over a period of time, not just from IRA sources but also possibly the INLA.

Mr Cunningham is listed in the Companies Office as being a director of nine companies:

* Chesterton Mortgage Co Ltd.

* Insurance Concepts Ltd.

* Tullybeg Retirement Village Ltd.

* Beechlawn Golf Course and Driving Range Ltd.

* Highbury Holdings Ltd.

* Firmount Developments Ltd.

* Midlands Projects Ltd.

* Wolfe Tone Holdings Ltd.

* Cave Hill Holdings.

There is no suggestion of illegality on the part of any of these companies.

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