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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 08:25 GMT
Court freezes 400,000 in assets
A man alleged in the High Court in Belfast to be a loyalist racketeer has had bank accounts and property totalling 406,000 frozen.

The Assets Recovery Agency was granted an interim order on the assets of Melville Matthews of Steeple Road, Kells, County Antrim.

The order affects his home, an adjacent plot of land, two other plots in Antrim and a property at Parkhall, Antrim.

Four cars, a motorcycle and a range of bank accounts were also frozen.

'Illegal'

In its case to the High Court, the agency alleged Mr Matthews was closely involved in "illegal activities including loan sharking and the collection of protection monies," as well as other activities "typically associated with loyalist paramilitarism".

The agency's assistant director, Alan McQuillan, said they had worked closely with the PSNI to provide the information needed to "convince the High Court that these assets should be frozen".

"It sends out a clear message to those involved in any form of serious and organised criminal activity that ARA, together with its law enforcement partners, will do everything in their power to put them out of business," he said.

"We are working hard to make sure that criminality and gangsterism do not pay."




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