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Dublin: 22 °C Friday 7 August, 2020

Operation against fuel laundering launched

Nineteen searches were carried out at premises associated with a known criminal gang.

Items used for chemical testing found by Customs and Garda officers at a fuel laundering plant unearthed in Knightstown, Co Meath, during a raid in 2011.
Items used for chemical testing found by Customs and Garda officers at a fuel laundering plant unearthed in Knightstown, Co Meath, during a raid in 2011.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

GARDAÍ HAVE SEARCHED 19 premises associated with a known organised criminal group in Louth today.

The raids are part of a multi-agency investigation into the profits generated from the illegal fuel trade. The operation is being lead by the Criminal Assets Bureau but assistance is being received from the Revenue Commissioners and Her Majesties Revenue Customs (HMRC) in Northern Ireland.

Gardaí said the properties searched this morning in Louth, Monaghan, Dublin, Kildare, Waterford, Offaly, Roscommon, Westmeath, Meath and Tipperary are owned by key members of the gang involved. They included seven dwellings, 10 business sites and two warehouses.

Searches were also conducted by PSNI specialist teams in border regions of Northern Ireland.

According to the Garda Press Office, the current focus of the inquiry is to search for and seize evidence relating to criminal activity and the assets deriving from such actions.

The agencies involved want to dismantle the oil operations, seize cash and other assets including cars used and to freeze bank accounts. About 200 personnel were used in the Republic of Ireland during today’s operation.

The CAB believes significant funds are being generated from the sale of laundered diesel and stretched petrol, which is diluted with methanol.

The profits generated from this illegal activity are significant as is the loss to the Irish Exchequer.

According to Gardaí, it also has “knock on effects” on legitimate business, as well as on unsuspecting customers who have very often experienced damage to their vehicles’ fuel systems or a poor return per litre of petrol.

Clean-up operations after toxic waste is dumped also costs Monaghan and Louth more then €4 million per year.

Diesel designated for agricultural or industrial purposes is privy to lower tax and duty rates and is dyed green as a marker to differentiate it from regular fuel. Criminals use acid to wash the dye from the agri-fuel so they can pass it off as regular, full-priced diesel.

Read: Revenue to introduce new marker system in crackdown on fuel laundering

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