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Allister questions EU Commission on IRA money laundering efforts in Bulgaria

26 April 2004

Arising from recent events involving the expose of IRA money laundering efforts in Europe, DUP MEP Jim Allister has tabled a Priority Written Question in the European Parliament in the following terms:

 On 20th December 2004 the IRA robbed the Northern Bank in Belfast of 26.5million GBP. It is believed that as part of its money laundering operations the IRA was seeking to purchase a bank in Bulgaria.  Does the Commission attempt to monitor the IRA's money laundering activities in the EU and within candidate countries and is the Commission satisfied that the measures in place to counter money laundering opportunities in Bulgaria are adequate?

 Commenting, Mr Allister said, "Until Bulgaria officially joins the EU, its territory is outside the scope of operation of Europol and this is a possible reason why Bulgaria would present as an attractive zone of operation for money laundering, given that it also provides ready links to other Eastern European countries where such activities are thought to be widespread."

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