Cork financier Ted Cunningham undertook to resign as director of a finance company yesterday and not pursue any such work in the future as he was given a five-year suspended jail sentence for laundering money from the Northern Bank robbery of 2004.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said, in the interests of protecting the public, Cunningham should have nothing to do with this type of work to which he was entirely unsuited.
“His plea of guilty is a significant matter. It puts his involvement beyond all doubt. Out of his own mouth he admits his guilt publicly now. There are no appeals, there is no doubt.”
The judge noted that Cunningham’s plea of guilty to recklessly laundering money from the robbery came at a time in his recent trial when a legal argument failed to prevent the prospect of evidence of the late John Douglas senior, a Tullamore jeweller, being given from a stenographic note of his testimony in the original trial five years ago.
Before this evidence could be read to the jury, the accused had pleaded guilty to two of the nine charges, which brought the case to an end.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said yesterday that from the book of evidence it was clear this evidence about bags of cash amounting on one visit to Mr Douglas with £100,000 in Northern sterling in two plastic shopping bags — would have had a destabilising effect on the not guilty plea in the eyes of the jury.
“The deceased said to Ted Cunningham, ‘I hope that is not from the Northern Bank’ and Mr Cunningham replied, ‘No way, I wouldn’t do that to you’,” the judge said yesterday.
Insp Colm Noonan said £26.5m was robbed from the Northern Bank cash centre in Belfast which was the biggest ever robbery of its kind on the island of Ireland.
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