NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
While Manx Radio was drowning the Island in a sea of sycophancy in its Tynwald ‘fun fair’ coverage this morning the real news and what could be of major impact for the Isle of Man and its future economic well being was taking place about 90 miles to our South East.
The independent TD Mick Wallace has revealed their may be more allegations to come following his assertion in the Dail last week about large deposits of monies in the Isle of Man (totalling several million) from Irish sources.
There have of course been calls for Wallace to provide details that he may have to the Irish Police whilst in the North of Ireland politicians are making parallel calls for PSNI enquiries to be undertaken.
The probity or otherwise of the claims by Wallace are meaningless because the old adage ‘mud’ sticks applies. Mick Wallace can make as many allegations as he wants within the Dail where his comments are protected by privilege and despite attempts last week to shut him up the Independent TD showed he was not going to be ‘hustled’ by the ‘Kildare Street establishment’.
Why does it matter? Well because the Isle of Man has a history of dodgy dealings over the years involving Ireland and hidden money. Just about the whole plethora of Irish life has from time to time surfaced with an unpleasant Irish/Manx financial connection. We have had allegations (not without substance) of terrorist laundering years ago (involving both republicans and loyalists). We have had dodgy local government connections and of course some of the involvement has a link back to mainstream politicians some of whom would doubtless like to shut Wallace up.
Over the years the Celtic League has monitored all these machinations and in 2001 (see below) we published a piece spanning a decades worth of dodgy dealing over the previous decade:
“FINANCIAL SUPERVISION ‘WAFFLE’
The Financial Supervision Commission has responded to a series of questions from the Celtic League concerning high-profile scandals linking Manx banks and financial institutions with illegal activities in other jurisdictions.
The FSC seem to want to evade any criticism by claiming that the events involved occurred many years ago, before Manx regulations were tightened up.
The FSC cite, for example, the case of Irish gangster Thomas Meehan who was convicted of money laundering offences in May 2000. FSC Chief Executive, John Aspden, says:
“The reports of which I am aware indicated that the offences occurred in 1995 and 1996.”
He goes on “As you are aware, the legislation and the detailed requirements in relation to anti-money laundering and ‘Know your Customer’ (KYC) systems and procedures for financial institutions did not come into effect until 1 December 1998”.
However, strangely in 1991, seven years prior to Mr. Aspden’s assertion about KYC, the Chief Secretary’s office wrote to the Celtic League, who at that time were investigating alleged money laundering through the Isle of Man by paramilitary gangs in Ulster. Tim Craine, for the Chief Secretary told us:
“I think we all share the wish that no dirty money should be handled by the Isle of Man” he went on “with the above in mind the FSC has adopted a Know Your Customer policy which it expects all banking institutions to adhere to.
Clearly this policy, put in place over a decade ago, did not frustrate Meehans attempts to use Manx banks to salt away his illicits funds and it calls into question whether things have improved. It also proves that Aspden and the FSC should do their homework before coming out with pompous assertions that don’t stand up.
Moreover there is an even greater indictment of the FSC.
Thomas Meehan is known to have been associated with the gang members charged in connection with the slaying of Dublin journalist Veronica Guerin.
In 1996, when Meehan was utilising ‘banking services’ here the Celtic League wrote to the FSC pointing out that there were strong rumours that persons suspected in connection to the death of the journalist were using accounts here.
We called for an Isle of Man investigation. We are not aware if any follow up action was pursued, although the FSC did tell us in October 1996 that if any licence holders (banks) were involved:
“the FSC will take a serious view of the matter”.
Apparently not serious enough to warrant a prosecution!
Bernard Moffatt Celtic League
Another Celtic League release three years later, in 2004, showed how deep seated the allegations of corruption were and has an alarming resonance to the latest allegations (see below);
“SLUSH FUND ALLEGATIONS POINT TO ISLE OF MAN BANKING SYSTEM
Ireland has been gripped again this week with sensational revelations that infer bribery and corruption surrounding planning matters went right to the heart of government.
A tribunal enquiring into these matters heard testimony from developer Tom Gilmartin in which he indicates almost half the Fianna Fáil cabinet of the late eighties including the current Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, were at a meeting after which he was asked to deposit a multi-million pound sum in an Isle of Man offshore bank account.
Bertie Ahern denies any involvement but at least one UK paper this week inferred that Ahern dubbed the ‘Teflon Taoiseach’ because of his squeaky clean image would be tarnished by the allegations.
Gilmartin meanwhile with ironic humour records that he was so shocked by the bribe proposition that he declared “You (the Fianna Fail Ministers of the time) make the Mafia look like monks”. The mood however darkened when he was told “You could end up in the (river) Liffey for that statement”.
There is no doubt that Isle of Man accounts were in use by corrupt interests in Ireland at this time. George Redmond, a former Dublin planning official who was arraigned before the Tribunal previously, was arrested getting off a plane from the Isle of Man with £300,000. He was jailed.
However, as the flak flies in Dublin the Isle of Man and its secretive banking industry of the day has emerged relatively unscathed. It is past time that full disclosure was provided by the Isle of Man government and its banking regulators into what was happening at the time. If Fianna Fail had a slush fund offshore who else was involved and what deposits were made into it? Did the Bank(s) have knowledge of these
transactions? It seems incredible that any account linked to such high-profile figures could have been handled without Bank officials at the highest level being aware of it.
If as Gilmartin alleges he was threatened we are not talking about a bit of ‘innocent Irish tax dodging we are dealing with a serious criminal conspiracy and it’s past time the facts were published.
We have heard the revelations in Dublin. Now the focus should switch to Douglas, Isle of Man and the full details of all accounts linked to the Tribunal hearings should be published – that is of course unless someone still has something to hide!
J B Moffatt
For more Celtic League links on laundering go to the old CL archive at this pdf file;
Just type ‘laundering’ into the search section. Unfortunately some other articles from the period 2001 – 2010 at our Yahoo file are not yet open access and cannot be searched.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE
The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues
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