Man gets suspended five-year sentence over Northern Bank raid money laundering

Thursday 27 February 2014 23.44
Ted Cunningham was given a five-year suspended sentence
Ted Cunningham was given a five-year suspended sentence

A 65-year-old financier has been given a five-year suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to laundering more than Stg £250,000 from the Northern Bank raid in Belfast.

Ted Cunningham from Farran in Co Cork had protested his innocence on the charges for almost a decade.

The suspended sentence imposed on him reflects the fact that he has already served three-years in jail after he was convicted by a jury at his original trial.

The Court of Criminal appeal later ordered a retrial where he again pleaded not guilty but changed his plea after four days. 

Almost £3m seized by gardaí from Cunningham's home and from other locations has been forfeited to the State.

The December 2004 Northern Bank raid was the biggest robbery ever on the island of Ireland.

It is believed to have been organised by the IRA and a gang escaped with over £26.5m in Northern Bank notes. 

In February 2005, gardaí seized £2.3m in Northern Bank notes from a locked cupboard in the basement of Cunningham's home at Farran.

Gardaí seized hundreds of thousands more at other locations.

But for almost a decade, Cunningham denied that the money came from the Northern Bank raid.

Throughout one of the most complex garda investigations ever mounted in the State, through a 45-day trial, an appeal and a re-trial which began a fortnight ago, Cunningham continued to protest his innocence.

He changed his plea four days into his second trial, accepting that he had laundered more than £275,000 from the Northern Bank raid.

The DPP accepted the plea and did not proceed with the other charges.

Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin this morning sentenced Cunningham to a five-year suspended jail term. He also banned him from working in the financial services area.