IRELAND'S top crime bosses are pumping hundreds of millions of euro from illicit drug deals and armed robbery proceeds into the financial services sector in Dubai, the Sunday Tribune can reveal.
The group of Dublin and Limerick criminals are investing "millions and millions" into Saudi acounts, according to the head of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), Chief Superintendent Felix McKenna.
"We have traced enormous amounts of money that have gone to Saudi Arabia. One of the individuals that we are investigating, from Limerick, left this jurisdiction with 12m.
We traced 8m to 9m of that to Saudi Arabia. The antimoney laundering regime out there is not developed." The illegal drugs trade in Ireland is now valued at over 1bn.
McKenna said senior gardai were convinced the rising gangland murder rate is directly linked to cocaine use by young and lethally armed criminals. "They [senior colleagues] attribute it to the use of cocaine by these people, the shooters." This comment is the first time a senior officer in the force has directly linked the dramatic rise in gang-related homicide to cocaine use by young criminals.
McKenna said the boom in the cocaine market was a major concern. "I live in the real world. My daughters and sons tell me the amount of drugs that'd be offered to them when they're out around the city is unreal." He was also strongly critical of middleclass recreational drug users, saying: "They have no sense of civic morals at all."
CAB was established a decade ago, following the murder of crime reporter Veronica Guerin on 26 June 1996.
Since it began to tackle major crimelords, McKenna revealed that the agency has taken over 90m from gangsters.
June 25, 2006