Money-laundering accused denies confessing to gardaí

The man accused of money-laundering over £3m from the Northern Bank robbery denied confessing to gardaí that he had told Phil Flynn he could move £10m or £11m.

The man accused of money-laundering over £3m from the Northern Bank robbery denied confessing to gardaí that he had told Phil Flynn he could move £10m or £11m.

Prosecution senior counsel, Tom O’Connell, put it to Ted Cunningham that he told Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Quilter that he rang Phil Flynn – former chairman of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and told him: “Hopefully I might be able to move £10m or £11m.”

Mr O’Connell said today that this evidence from Detective Chief Superintendent Quilter was consistent with a note in Cunningham’s hand-writing with a list of figures totalling £10m and another £1m figure written after the total and designated for fees.

Mr O’Connell SC said the list also included, “Bulgarians, 4.5 million.”

“You were going to move £4.5 million to Bulgaria,” Mr O’Connell suggested during Ted Cunningham’s fifth day in the witness box at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Cunningham asked why would he be moving money to Bulgaria when they were the ones who were bringing money here.

“I got the money from the Bulgarians, how many times must I say it. (As for saying otherwise in the Bridewell) I was coerced, I was under duress, I was led like a pup to say this and say that,” Cunningham said.

Mr O’Connell said it must have been a coincidence that the Northern Bank was robbed and the gardaí found £3m at Cunningham’s home.

“For the umpteenth time I got the money from the Bulgarians. I got two payments before Christmas, where the hell did I get that money so?” Cunningham said.

The senior counsel said: “You can repeat the mantra all you like, the State does not accept your explanation and regards it as a tissue of lies.”

Mr O’Connell reminded the witness that on February 19, 2005 in the Bridewell: “You said to the guards the story about the Bulgarians buying the pit (a sand and gravel pit owned by Cunningham and others at Shinrone, County Offaly) was just a cover. You said when the Northern Bank money arrived you would pretend the money came from the Bulgarians and in that way launder the money. You said: 'In effect I was laundering the money by putting it in a bogey Bulgarian name.' Isn’t that the truth?”

Cunningham replied: “No, on that morning I had been terrorised and threatened, my family had been threatened, I had been threatened myself. If someone told me I was going to get a bullet in the head, that to me is being terrorised.”

Ted Cunningham, aged 60, of Woodbine Lodge, Farran, Co Cork, denies 20 charges of money-laundering - in a case that arises out of the investigation of the robbery of £26.5m from the Northern Bank in Belfast on December 20, 2004.

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