One of four men accused of having equipment for printing counterfeit currency told gardai that rolls of paper and print cartridges found at his address were from a courier job he agreed to do for a man who had called to his garage, the Special Criminal Court has heard.
The memoranda of interview with Liam Delaney (42), with addresses at Mountrath and Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois, were read in to the record at the twelfth day of his trial and that of his co-accused Anthony Sloan (57), a native of Belfast with an address at Ard na Mara, Dundalk, Co Louth, Kevin Flanagan (43), of Borris-in-Ossory and Andrew Poole (43), of Portlaoise, Co Laois.
The men have all pleaded not guilty to possession of equipment, including printers and cutting machines, to manufacture counterfeit currency at Ballybrophy, Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois on May 31st, 2010.
The court heard that members of the garda Emergency Response Unit who raided a yard at Ballybrophy on May 31st, 2010 found the four accused men in a portakabin. Inside the portakabin gardai discovered a trap door, hidden under a chest of drawers, which led to an underground bunker made out of two forty foot containers.
Within this bunker, gardai discovered a number of printers, cutting machines and other materials used in printing. The accused men denied knowledge of the bunker and told gardai they were attending a business meeting in the portakabin to discuss carbon credits.
There was evidence that gardai who searched an address of Liam Delaney’s at Newline Close, Mountrath, found boxes containing rolls of paper marked with Chinese characters, as well as boxes containing paper sample catalogues, inkjet paper and print cartridges.
Detective Garda James O’Meara told Mr Garnet Orange, prosecuting, that over the course of five interviews with gardai at Portlaoise Garda Station, Mr Delaney told detectives that about two weeks before his arrest a man called to his garage in Borris-in-Ossory and asked him to repair his Range Rover jeep.
He said the man, who was tall with black hair and a Dublin accent, gave his name as “Padraig Kane” and asked Mr Delaney if he was interested in doing courier work. The accused man told gardai that he did not keep a record of the repair carried out on the Range Rover as Mr Kane had paid him in cash.
Mr Delaney told gardai he was to be paid €200 to collect parcels from an address on the Lower Rathmines Road in Dublin and hold them at a warehouse, where he was to await further instruction from Mr Kane.
He said he collected the parcels but when Mr Kane failed to contact him he began “shiting it” because he thought he had been duped in to carrying out a “drug run”.
Mr Delaney told gardai that he brought the boxes back to Newline Close and opened them to find ink and rolls of paper with “foreign writing, Japanese or Chinese” printed on them. The accused man said he was “so relieved” not to see “white powder and tablets”.
He told gardai he could not explain how the ink cartridges found in his house were the same cartridges required for the large format printing machines uncovered by gardai in the underground bunker.Mr Delaney denied that he knew the boxes contained inks and papers to print counterfeit money and that he had met with his co-accused on the morning of his arrest to discuss the counterfeiting process.Put to him by detectives that Mr Kane “did not exist”, Mr Delaney replied: “He exists.”
The trial also heard this afternoon from a witness who told court that he sold a shipping container to a man called Kevin Flanagan in 2008.
Mr Martin Kealey of the Midlands Container Depot told Mr Orange that he believed the container found by gardai under the portakabin bore the same serial number as a forty foot steel shipping container he sold to a Kevin Flanagan.
After he was shown a photograph of a hole cut in to the container, Mr Kealey agreed with Mr Orange that there was no such hole present when he sold the item.
However, the witness agreed with Mr Fergal Kavanagh SC, for Mr Flanagan, that he had never been asked to identify the accused Kevin Flanagan and the extent of his evidence was that someone calling himself this name had called to his premises and purchased a shipping container.
Mr Kealey agreed that the serial number on the container was put to him in interview with gardai as he was unable to recall it himself and he was also unable to locate an invoice matching the sale of the container.
The trial continues.