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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
Police seek suspect's extradition
Castlereagh police station
Special Branch offices at Castlereagh were burgled
A 38-year-old man is to be charged in connection with a break-in at Special Branch offices in Belfast in 2002.

Larry Zaitschek, who currently lives in the United States, will be charged with aggravated burglary, assault and imprisonment of a police officer.

Mr Zaitschek, who was a chef in the station canteen, also faces charges of having information likely to be of use to terrorists. He denies all charges.

Police said they have begun proceedings to seek Mr Zaitschek's extradition.

Mr Zaitschek said in a statement he would vigorously resist any extradition request and denied having anything to do with the break-in.

Embarrassment

The incident at the Castlereagh security base on 17 March 2002 was a huge embarrassment for the police.

Three men walked in to what was supposed to be a highly secure room packed full of sensitive security information, tied up a police officer and stole dozens of Special Branch files.

These files included details of Special Branch officers and their agents' codewords.

Millions of pounds were spent rehousing officers and others, whose security had been compromised

Mr Zaitschek flew to the US shortly after the break-in, leaving his wife and young son behind.

It is understood that Mr Zaitschek's wife is in protective custody and may be one of the key prosecution witnesses.

Mr Zaitschek has consistently denied any involvement and earlier this month, he began High Court action against the Public Prosecution Service.

He said he wanted to return to Northern Ireland to see his son, and demanded to know whether any action was to be taken against him.

The IRA denied being responsible for the break-in.




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