Newry man convicted of running north’s biggest money laundering outfit

April 14, 2014

A Newry man ran Northern Ireland’s biggest money laundering operation from his small bureau de change on the city’s Dublin road, an investigating officer from Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed.

Appearing in Newry Crown Court on Wednesday, Rory Trainor from Dunbrae, was accused of laundering more than £20million of ‘criminal cash’ from his Best Rate Bureau firm.

The court heard that £63million passed through the business, being exchanged from sterling to euro and vice-versa, in less than two and a half years.  Investigating officials believe most of the cash “related to crime” but have been unable to determine exactly what the money was being used for.

Raids by customs officers on Trainor’s home in 2009 uncovered a total of £150,000 in bundles of notes contained in a floor safe and behind a drinks’ cooler.  He was also linked to the transfer of money abroad and admitted using a stolen identity to move money from Northern Ireland to Bulgaria on three separate occasions in 2009.

Trainor first came to the attention of HMRC in 2006 when he failed to comply with regulations regarding his business.  He was subsequently fined £5,000.  This offence raised suspicions and led to an investigation into the business dealings of the 37-year-old.  He was eventually caught during an undercover surveillance operation where he was recorded exchanging parcels of cash in a Belfast car park.

Trainor pleaded guilty to one count of false accounting, two of transferring criminal property and one of entering an arrangement to acquire criminal property.  Twenty-nine other offences have been ‘left on the books’.

Despite his guilty plea, he walked free from the court after sentencing was deferred for 12 months.  A Serious Crime Prevention Order was imposed to limit his business activities and a timetable has been agreed for confiscation of his profits of crime.  He is due back in court at the end of March 2015 at which time it will be examined how he has complied the conditions of the Order.

Derek Duberry, a senior investigating officer with HMRC, said Trainor “knew exactly what he was doing”.

“He offers a facility which enables [criminals] to keep the criminal money away from the eyes of the authorities,” he said.  “This is the biggest money-laundering operation uncovered in Northern Ireland.  We are trying to make it a more hostile environment for criminals to operate.”