Consultant who travelled with Flynn is arrested

Irish Times
26 Feb 2005

Gardaí investigating the suspected money-laundering operation
linked to a Cork businessman, Mr Ted Cunningham, have arrested an
international business consultant who travelled with Mr Cunningham
and Mr Phil Flynn to Bulgaria last month. Conor Lally & Colm Keena,
Public Affairs Correspondent report.

The woman, originally from Northern Ireland but now based in Co
Kildare, has worked for a well-known international consultancy firm
and has experience of doing business in Bulgaria. In January she set
up a meeting for the Irish party with the Bulgarian Deputy Finance
Minister, Mr Ilia Lingorski, in Sofia. Mr Lingorski has special
responsibility for inward investment.

Mr Flynn has told The Irish Times he was working on setting up three
firms in Bulgaria, one of which would replicate the unlicensed
lending company, Chesterton Finance, and another which would seek a
Bulgarian licence to act as a mortgage company.

Mr Cunningham is the principal behind Chesterton in whose home in Co
Cork earlier this month the Garda discovered more than €2 million in
cash. Gardaí believe the Provisional IRA may have been laundering
money through Chesterton, including money from the Northern Bank raid.

Following the disclosure that Mr Flynn was a director of Chesterton,
he resigned as chairman of Bank of Scotland (Ireland).

A team of senior Garda investigators has spent the last few days in
Bulgaria meeting officials. Officers in Dublin from the Criminal
Assets Bureau and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation have
identified an Isle of Man-based man whom they wish to interview about
his links to Mr Cunningham's operation.

Mr Flynn told The Irish Times that this man runs a business based in
Germany and was providing legal advice on the Bulgarian projects.
Gardaí believe this man and the woman arrested here on Thursday also
worked on Mr Cunningham's behalf in Libya and Malta. The woman has
worked for several clients on business deals in Bulgaria in recent

Gardaí have been anxious to speak to her since the raid on Mr
Cunningham's home in Farran, Co Cork, 10 days ago. She was still
being questioned yesterday.

Officers are expected to travel to the Isle of Man to interview the
man who gave advice on the Bulgarian trip. The man was described as
a "financier" by one Garda source, who said he was an expert on tax
breaks and tax havens.

Mr Flynn said he had been travelling to Bulgaria since the 1970s.
More recently he had been looking at the possibility of business
ventures there. Mr Flynn is a former trade unionist who was vice
president of Sinn Féin in the 1980s.

© The Irish Times

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