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Two convicted IRA bombers arrested in Spain for smuggling alcohol and tobacco

Leonard Hardy and his wife Donna Maria Elizabeth Hardy were convicted of a 1989 bombing of a British army barracks in Germany.

Image: Shutterstock/Roman Sigaev

TWO FORMER MEMBERS of the Irish Republican Army were arrested in Spain during a sweep on an alleged tobacco and alcohol smuggling racket, police said.

A Spanish police spokesman told AFP the ex-IRA members arrested for heading the network are Leonard Hardy, 53, and his wife Donna Maria Elizabeth Hardy, 48, both of whom were convicted of a 1989 bombing of a British army barracks in Germany.

The couple was arrested in Lanzarote on the Canary Islands on December 29 with five accomplices as part of coordinated sweeps in Las Palmas, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia, a police statement said.

“They led an organisation smuggling tobacco and alcohol, and laundered money through the acquisition of buildings,” the statement said, adding that an estimated 10.5 million euros ($12.5 million) worth of real estate had been involved.

Spanish daily El Mundo reports that both were arrested in a hotel in the Canaries.

“It was the arrival of Leonard Hardy on the islands on the 26th that triggered the operation, prepared for several months waiting for one of the couple’s frequent visits to Spain,” the paper reports.

Among the others detained in the operation are three other Irish people, one of which was remanded in custody on bail of €100,000. The other two are a mother and her daughter. The father, who formed part of the group, is already serving a sentence for smuggling in Ireland.

Spanish officials froze additional property assets worth more than 5.5 million euros ($6.5 million), and 90 bank accounts and investment portfolios in Spain. They have also requested information from Irish and British authorities about potential assets the group may have acquired abroad.

© AFP, 2015 Reporting by Paul Hosford

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