Garland linked to $250,000 in fake notes, court told


A VETERAN Irish republican handed over almost a quarter of a million fake US dollars in Russian hotels in an international plot to spread the “supernotes” across Europe, the High Court heard yesterday.

Seán Garland (77), of Beldonstown, Brownstown, Navan, Co Meath, is opposing his extradition to the US to face charges of distributing fake US dollars.

In an affidavit to the court, Brenda Johnson, assistant US attorney, said: “This case involved a long-standing and large-scale supernotes distribution network based in the Republic of Ireland and headed by Seán Garland, a senior officer in the Irish Workers’ Party.”

Ms Johnson alleged one of Mr Garland’s alleged co-conspirators, Hugh Todd, later told investigators he purchased more than $250,000 of “supernotes” from “the Garland organisation” which were redistributed into the world economy through currency exchanges across Europe.

Ms Johnson’s affidavit states Mr Garland knew the Federal Reserve notes were counterfeit, that he travelled circuitous routes and met with other conspirators to discuss the supernotes operation and engage in transactions.

Michael Forde SC, argued his client had been accused of a transnational conspiracy, but the charge fell under Ireland’s forgery or money laundering laws. He should therefore be tried in Ireland rather than be extradited.

“The rationale is very simple,” said Mr Forde. “If the offence was committed against Irish law, and a substantial part committed in the State, then the State should prosecute.”

His legal team also argued that Mr Garland’s fundamental rights have been infringed, there had been a delay in making the second extradition order and the extradition was connected with a political offence. Mr Forde also claimed the application was based on hearsay and had not established a prima facie case.

Richard Humphreys SC, also counsel for Mr Garland, said that if they were wrong about the Irish courts having jurisdiction the issue arose of whether there was correspondence between the offence in US law and Irish law on the relevant date.

He said most of the alleged offences had taken place between 1999 and 2000 and in those years they did not constitute an offence under Irish law. This meant there was no correspondence between the alleged offences under US and Irish law.

“A conspiracy has to be to do something unlawful,” he said. “A number of major elements are missing. Forgery of foreign banknotes was not an offence then. The extra-territorial dimension was not present.” Referring to the issue of Mr Garland’s rights, he said the “ political character of the offence jumps off the page”.

The hearing continues today.