€57m illicit cigarettes accused are denied bail
Three Bulgarian men charged following the discovery of a €57m illegal cigarette factory in Jenk- instown, Co Louth, have been refused bail.
Petar Petrov (46), Yordan Shopski (51) and Boti Panicharsti (63) made an application for bail when they appeared at Clover- hill District Court yesterday.
They were among a group of 11 foreign nationals charged contrary to the Finance Act 2005 and who had been remanded in custody following a court hearing on March 16.
Objecting to bail, Gda Noel Monaghan told Judge Victor Blake that he feared the three men would flee the jurisdiction and not turn up for trial if granted bail.
He also cited the seriousness of the case as a reason for opposing bail.
He said gardai obtained a warrant and on March 15 an illegal cigarette factory was allegedly found in "a clandestine location in a shed behind a number of hay bales".
He said 24 million cigar- ettes were found as well as enough loose tobacco to produce 66 million more.
The seizure was valued at €57m, with an estimated €45m loss to the exchequer, Gda Monaghan said.