A veteran Irish Republican who turned against the IRA is fighting extradition charges to the United States for distributing fake American dollars – in Russia.
Sean Garland, a 77-year-old socialist from the parish of Brownstown just outside Navan in County Meath, is wanted for passing off almost a quarter of a million dollars.
Dublin’s High Court heard that the alleged offences are claimed to have taken place between 1999 and 2000 and were part of an alleged ‘international plot to spread the supernotes” across Europe’.
Assistant US Attorney Brendan Johnson made the case for extradition in an affidavit to the Irish court.
She said: “This case involved a long-standing and large-scale supernotes distribution network based in the Republic of Ireland and headed by Seán Garland, a senior officer in the Irish Workers’ Party.”
The Assistant Attorney also alleged that Garland’s co-conspirator Hugh Todd, later told investigators that he purchased more than $250,000 of ‘supernotes’ from Garland’s organization which were later redistributed into the world economy through currency exchanges across Europe.
The Irish Times reports that the affidavit also states that Garland knew the Federal Reserve notes were counterfeit. It is claims that he: “Travelled circuitous routes and met with other conspirators to discuss the supernotes operation and engage in transactions.”
Defence barrister for Garland, Michael Forde argued that his client should be charged under Irish law rather than extradited as he had been accused of a transnational conspiracy but the charge fell under Ireland’s forgery or money laundering laws.
Forde told the court: “The rationale is very simple. If the offence was committed against Irish law, and a substantial part committed in the State, then the State should prosecute.”
Garland’s legal team also told the court that his fundamental rights had been infringed as there had been a delay in making the second extradition order and the extradition was connected with a political offence.
Forde also said the application was based on hearsay and had not established a prima facie case.
Forde’s colleague Richard Humphreys said that if Garland’s legal team were wrong about the Irish courts having jurisdiction the issue arose of whether there was correspondence between the offence in US law and Irish law on the relevant date.
Humphreys also stated that most of the alleged offences had taken place between 1999 and 2000 when they did not constitute an offence under Irish law. “This means there was no correspondence between the alleged offences under US and Irish law,” he said.
“A conspiracy has to be to do something unlawful. A number of major elements are missing. Forgery of foreign banknotes was not an offence then. The extra-territorial dimension was not present.
“The political character of the offence jumps off the page.”
The hearing continues.