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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 October 2005, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
Party leader on fake cash charges
Workers' Party leader Sean Garland
Workers' Party leader Sean Garland appeared in court
The president of the Irish Workers' Party has been released on bail pending his potential extradition to the United States on counterfeiting charges.

Sean Garland, 71, from Navan in County Meath, appeared at Belfast County Court on Saturday.

The US government alleges he and others bought, moved and either passed as genuine or re-sold high quality counterfeit $100 notes.

A defence lawyer said Mr Garland "strongly protested" his innocence.

The US authorites further allege that Mr Garland "arranged with North Korean agencies for the purchase of quantities of notes and enlisted other people to disseminate" the money, known as "superdollars", with the UK.

Arrested

Mr Garland was arrested on Friday night in a restaurant near where his party's annual conference was taking place in south Belfast.

Workers' Party members protest the arrest in Belfast
Workers' Party members protest the arrest in Belfast

The warrant for his arrest and possible extradition was issued on 19 May this year.

The Recorder of Belfast, His Honour Judge Tom Burgess, released Mr Garland on bail provided that three sureties lodge 10,000 each with the court and that he resides at an address in County Down.

It is understood that the US authorities now have 65 days in which to lodge the extradition papers with the court.

Workers' Party members protested in Belfast city centre on Saturday over the arrest.

Party spokesman John Lowry said the arrest on the eve of their conference was "politically motivated".

"It was designed because the Workers' Party stand opposed to the war in Iraq, we stand opposed to the policies of the US administration," he added.



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