Loyalist paramilitary charged

A top loyalist paramilitary was charged today with blackmail, intimidation and money laundering.

A top loyalist paramilitary was charged today with blackmail, intimidation and money laundering.

Andre Shoukri, leader of the Ulster Defence Association in north Belfast, was arrested earlier this week following a series of raids in the city.

Police confirmed a 36-year-old man was also charged today with two counts of blackmail, intimidation, money laundering, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an arrestable offence and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear.

Shoukri, 28, and the 36-year-old will appear before Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning.

It is understood the arrests followed searches of houses in the Westlands estate in north Belfast as well as the Castlereagh area of east Belfast.

Two men appeared in court yesterday in connection with the raids.

A 23-year-old man was charged with threatening to kill after demanding £4,000 (€5,900) cash and the keys to a Belfast bar and a 46-year-old financial adviser was charged with money laundering.

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