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Sunday 26 January 2020

Former IRA man and smuggler Hunt dies of heart attack

Criminal Assets Bureau lost £2m case against Hunt. Stock photo
Criminal Assets Bureau lost £2m case against Hunt. Stock photo

A former IRA member and cigarette smuggler died on Christmas Eve of a suspected heart attack in his Dublin home.

Sean Hunt, from Ballyfermot, was once targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) but successfully appealed a judgment against him of nearly £2m for outstanding taxes.

He was previously described as the ringleader of a smuggling operation and was arrested over a 1995 IRA murder.

Hunt, aged in his 50s, was based in Spain for several years, but also spent time in Ballyfermot.

In 2003, Hunt was successful in the Supreme Court when he appealed against a High Court decision granting a judgment for £1.77m to CAB for alleged unpaid income tax and VAT.

The court found CAB was not entitled to seek judgment in circumstances where assessments in relation to Hunt were not, at the time the proceedings had been taken, final and conclus- ive under tax legislation and because no previous demand for tax had been made.

The court also ruled he had not exhausted his right to appeal to the Revenue Appeals Commissioners.

Admissable

The court held that bank statements related to accounts in the name of his wife, which CAB alleged were beneficially in the ownership of Hunt, were not admissible in evidence.

CAB also lost its claim that costs should not be awarded to the Hunts.

In an earlier hearing, evidence was given by the head of CAB, Det Chief Supt Felix McKenna, that Hunt was arrested in 1995 for the murder of a man in Ballyfermot, believed to have been carried out by the Provisional IRA. He was subsequently freed without charge.

Evidence was also given that Hunt was suspected by CAB of being a member of a Ballyfermot criminal gang involved in cigarette smuggling.

In 2006, Hunt was arrested by Spanish police in connection with a cigarette smuggling operation

Also arrested in that operation was Dickie O'Neill, the alleged former boss of the Prov- isional IRA in Dublin.

O'Neill was said by gardai to have been in charge of the Provisionals' southern units in 1996 when Det Gda Jerry McCabe was murdered by an IRA gang during an abortive raid on a postal van at Adare, Co Limerick.

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