Former IRA woman at centre of Spanish fraud probe

January 12, 2015

A former IRA member from Newry was among five Irish nationals arrested in Spain last week, in connection with an alleged multi-million pound property and smuggling fraud.

Donna Maguire (47) was arrested in Lanzarote on December 29th, along with her husband, Leonard ‘Bap’ Hardy, and five others, including a mother and daughter from Dundalk.  A Spanish lawyer and a Norwegian national were also detained as part of the same operation.

It’s believed the couple, who travelled with their four children to the Spanish island on Boxing Day, were under observation by the Spanish authorities for some time.

The large-scale investigation by Spanish police, assisted by Gardai, HM Revenue and Customs and the Criminal Assets Bureau has reportedly uncovered 90 bank accounts containing a total of £4.3m, and nine properties, all of which have been seized.

It is understood officials initially planned to extradite the couple but took advantage of their arrival in Lanzarote.

Maguire, originally from Newry and now living in Dundalk, received a nine year sentence in Germany in 1995 for her part in a IRA bomb attack on a British Army barracks at Osnabruck in August 1989.

Hardy, who is originally from Belfast, received a six-year sentence in Germany in 2006 after admitting his role in the same attack but avoided prison because the offences predated the Good Friday Agreement.

Maguire has been released on bail and returned to Ireland on Thursday while Hardy remains in custody with bail set at E250,000.