John Gilligan refused bail on money-laundering charges

Dublin man arrested in Belfast airport, allegedly in possession of €23,000 in cash

 John Gilligan: was remanded in continuing custody to appear back at the court via video link in mid-October. Photograph: Alan Betson

John Gilligan: was remanded in continuing custody to appear back at the court via video link in mid-October. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Dublin man John Gilligan, who was arrested while attempting to board a flight from Belfast to Spain, has been refused bail on money laundering charges.

Mr Gilligan (66), of Greenfort Crescent, Clondalkin, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday via video link from Maghaberry Prison where he has been on remand in connection with a charge of “attempting to remove criminal property from Northern Ireland”.

The accused was arrested at Belfast International Airport in August. At the time, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said officers recovered about €23,000 at the scene.

At Coleraine Court on Monday, defence barrister Plunkett Nugent said he had noted the comment the previous week by District Judge Peter King that unless there was a “tectonic” change in circumstances, bail would be refused.

Regarding a “risk of flight” mentioned by prosecutors, Mr Nugent said the defendant had previously signed bail daily for a period of three and a half years in Dublin and had co-operated with police.

Mr Nugent also told the court of a “very real, immediate, and ongoing threat to the life of the defendant.”

A National Crime Agency investigator told the court they were liasing with the Garda about the threat.

The investigator objected to bail saying a suggested bail address was “tenuous”.

Tenuous link

He said: “This man has no ties to Northern Ireland. We are concerned that he is a flight risk. The address being put up for bail has a very tenuous link.

“The householder was contacted by police on Friday and she would say she knows Mr Gilligan simply through her father. He is a friend of her father.”

The court was told the woman has a criminal record.

Regarding claims previously made about the defendant’s health, the NCA investigator said prison staff were contacted and they said they always have medical staff available in jails and if there was anything serious a person could be taken to hospital.

The NCA officer said they were also investigating the background to the cash the defendant had and said they would be contacting “13 or 14 people who are saying they provided money to Mr Gilligan”.

Refusing bail, District Judge King said the bail application had been “ill-judged” and added there was nothing to suggest that the situation had changed “one iota”.

The defendant was remanded in continuing custody to appear back at the court via video link in mid-October.