Europe

Northern Bank trial: Man 'had £175,000 in bank notes'

bank notes Image copyright SHAUN CURRY
Image caption The money was allegedly offered as security for a loan

A man charged in connection with the Northern Bank robbery in 2004 allegedly offered £175,000 in cash as security for a loan, a court has been told.

The money was carried into a property developer's office in two plastic bags, Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Timothy Cunningham Snr, 65, of Woodbine Lodge, Farran, County Cork, denies a total of nine charges of money laundering relating to the robbery.

A still unidentified gang stole £26.5m from the Belfast city centre branch.

The claim was made in evidence by John Sheehan, who owned Cúl na Gréine House in Ballincollig, County Cork, where he and Mr Cunningham had offices.

Mr Sheehan said he got a call from Mr Cunningham on 5 February 2005 asking him if he would lend Mr Cunningham 200,000 euros for a period of six to eight weeks.

He said he did not want to give Mr Cunningham the money, but that Mr Cunningham told him he would give him sterling.

Mr Sheehan said: "I said, why don't you put the sterling in the bank. I didn't really want to give him money.

Various bundles

"He said he needed sterling to pay for a conservatory he was buying in Northern Ireland. I said, if you give me sterling I will loan it (200,000 euro) to you."

He said Mr Cunningham arrived into his office carrying two plastic bags with £175,000 on 7 February.

Mr Sheehan said it was British sterling made up in various bundles, which he put in a walk-in safe.

"He asked for three separate cheques, 100,000 euro, 44,000 euro and 56,000 euro, all made payable to himself," Mr Sheehan said.

He said he heard on 17 February 2005 that Mr Cunningham was being investigated.

Mr Sheehan said he called the police and told them he had dealings with Mr Cunningham.

He said two gardaí visited him, counted the money in the safe, which totalled £175,000, gave him a receipt and took it away.

The trial continues next week.

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