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Seán Garland, a former IRA veteran, had been wanted by the US in connection with a counterfeit currency operation. Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

High Court rejects application to extradite former IRA veteran

The United States had sought the extradition of Seán Garland over alleged links to a North Korean dollar counterfeiting plot.

THE HIGH COURT has dismisseed an application by authorities in the United States to extradite a former member of the IRA over alleged links to a currency counterfeiting operation.

Sean Garland, 76, a former president of the Workers Party, had been wanted over alleged links to a counterfeiting operation in North Korea.

Justice John Edwards said he would furnish his reasons for dismissing the application next month.

Garland, with an address in Navan, Co Meath, had been a key figure in the Official IRA after it split with the Provisional IRA in the late 1960s.

He had been arrested in Belfast in 2005 on foot of an extradition warrant issued by US authorities, while attending the Workers’ Party Árdfheis. He was released on bail and travelled to the Republic, where he was again arrested in 2009.

He remained president of the Workers’ Party – which has political links to its North Korean counterpart, formerly led by Kim Jong Il until the latter’s death – until 2008.

The United States had accused Garland of assisting in the transport of counterfeit $100 bills to Ireland and the UK, where they were then exchanged for real currency.

Garland had always denied the allegations, and claimed that the allegations were based on hearsay.

Producing high-quality counterfeits of US currency is though to be one of North Korea’s main exports; the country is thought to mint the currency and then sells it to outsiders in exchange for a lesser quality of genuine currency.

The counterfeit notes are regularly referred to as ‘superdollars’ because their printing quality is superior to that used in the minting of actual US currency.

A closer look: the links between Ireland and North Korea

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