Tiger money man is nailed under new law
A MAN has been jailed for four years for hiding €30,000 for a gang of Tiger kidnappers.
Raymond Rea (31) of Ryebridge Close, Kilcock, Co Kildare, was the first person prosecuted under the Criminal Justice Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act 2010.
On September 1, 2010, a gang kidnapped a National Irish Bank employee and his wife. They locked the wife in a car boot and drove to Wicklow while the bank employee was made go to the branch in Clondalkin and take €270,000 in cash to secure her safe release.
Rea knew one of the raiders from childhood. He claimed this man approached him after the robbery and asked him to hold on to the cash in return for €4,000. The robbery investigation is still ongoing.
The father-of-two pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to knowingly handling the proceeds of crime at his home.
Judge Martin Nolan commented that Rea knew the nature of the robbery when he agreed to hold on to the money and that he allowed his home to be used to "divide the spoils of the crime."
"As everyone knows, Tiger kidnapping is a very serious criminal enterprise including severe violence or the threat of violence," Judge Nolan said.
"When he received the money, he knew what he was doing. What he did was totally inappropriate and a huge misjudgment."
The judge noted Rea's previous good behaviour but said the offence was too serious for a non-custodial sentence.
Detective Sergeant Joe Molloy told prosecuting counsel Shane Costelloe that a garda team investigating the raid was tracking a group of suspects who led them to Rea's home. They got a search warrant for the house and carried it out.
They found four men inside, including Rea. When one of the men was searched he was found to be carrying €15,000. A search of the house revealed €30,000 wrapped in plastic and hidden in the attic. Another €3,900 was found hidden among clothes in his bedroom.
Rea was arrested and interviewed 16 times. Initially he denied any wrongdoing before gradually admitting to holding the money in return for €4,000 for himself. He said he had no prior knowledge of the robbery.
He told gardai that whenever the raiders wanted to take some money from the house he would leave with his partner until they were finished.
Defence counsel, Peter Finlay, said Rea had no previous convictions and worked as a van driver. Counsel called it an "absolute outrage on society" and said Rea did not have the strength of character to realise the seriousness of his actions.
Mr Finlay said Rea had never done anything like this before and "is unlikely to anything like it again". He added that he came from a hard working family who had never been in trouble with gardai before.