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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 06:36 GMT
Court freezes 700,000 in assets
Assets valued at about 700,000 belonging to two alleged fuel smugglers in south Armagh have been frozen by the High Court in Belfast.

The two men under investigation are Damien John McGleenan, of Keady, and Neil Vallely, from Newtownhamilton.

Both men are fuel dealers in south Armagh. The assets seized include properties on both sides of the border.

Assets Recovery Agency head Alan McQuillan said anyone who had assets from crime risked having them frozen.

Mr McQuillan said fuel smuggling and laundering were "major areas of organised crime in Northern Ireland".

"(The) ARA is working closely with Revenue and Customs to make sure that, for more and more smugglers, this type of crime does not pay," he added.

Investigation

Court orders were obtained by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) to freeze the assets allegedly derived from fuel smuggling, as well as alleged VAT and excise duty evasion.

It follows an investigation by Customs offices into suspected fuel smuggling along the border in south Armagh.

Mr Vallely's wife Bronagh also had property frozen, but the ARA said in a statement it was not alleging any criminal conduct by her.

Mr McGleenan is the owner of McGleenan Fuels in Keady while Mr Vallely is the proprietor of NV Oils in Newtownhamilton.

Assets belonging to Mr McGleenan's which have been frozen by the High Court order include:

  • A public house at Keady;
  • Four properties in Keady and two at Dundalk;
  • Proceeds from the sale of four properties at Keady, and Dundalk and Drogheda in County Louth; and,
  • Money in a range of bank accounts.

Mr Vallely's assets which have been frozen include:

  • Properties in Newtownhamilton and Whitecross, County Armagh;
  • Proceeds from the sale of properties in Newtownhamilton and Belleeks, County Armagh, and Drogheda; and,
  • Money which is already in or has passed through a range of bank accounts.

Details of the court action were released a day after the government revealed almost 12m of criminal assets in Northern Ireland have been targeted by the authorities in the last year.


SEE ALSO:
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