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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 17:37 GMT
1m 'criminal' assets are frozen
Thomas Murphy in 1990
Thomas Murphy is alleged to be a former IRA chief of staff
More than 1m worth of property in Manchester belonging to a brother of an alleged IRA leader has been frozen.

Nine properties belong to Francis and Judy Murphy of County Louth. Francis Murphy is a brother of Thomas Murphy, alleged to be the IRA's chief of staff.

The Assets Recovery Agency claimed the properties were bought using the proceeds of money laundering and fuel smuggling.

It has been looking into the purchase of 250 properties worth more than 30m.

The agency has now been granted a High Court order to freeze 10 residential properties.

The other property, worth 450,000, belongs to a Manchester-based businessman.

Thomas Murphy's farm, which straddles the border, was also raided as part of the agency's investigation.

ARA raid
Documents were seized from premises last year

In its application to the High Court, the agency alleged that Mr and Mrs Murphy built their property portfolio on "wealth derived from money laundering and fuel smuggling in Ireland".

The nine properties subject to the order are mainly in the Trafford and Stretford areas of Manchester.

These include two houses owned by Judy Murphy, worth 70,056 and 188,071 each, plus a further seven properties registered to Francis and Judy Murphy's property firm, Sailor Property (UK) Ltd, Britannia Road, Manchester, which changed its name to FTM Properties (UK) Limited in August 2006.

These include four flats - one worth 119,200, two worth 109,200 and one worth 111,300.

Records seized

There are a further three houses worth 185,000, 128,000 and 109,100. The equity in these properties is about 381,000.

The freezing order means the properties cannot be sold while the investigation continues.

If the agency proves they were bought using the proceeds of crime, it will then sell the properties and keep the money.

The court action follows searches made throughout the Manchester area in October 2005 in which the agency seized more than 350,000 records.

Since then the agency has carried out a large scale forensic exercise, further searches and a number of interviews in the Manchester area.

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