Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, whose farm straddles border, found guilty of failing to file tax returns in Ireland between 1996-2004
Henry McDonaldThe Guardian
17 Dec 2015**See also: Will The Provos Stand By 'Slab'? - Ed MoloneyThomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, 66, faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced in January. (Photograph: Niall Carson/PA) An Irish farmer once named in court as a senior IRA commander has been convicted of tax fraud in the Republic.
Thomas “Slab” Murphy was found guilty at the special criminal court on Thursday of failing to make tax returns to Ireland’s Revenue Commissioners.
The 66-year-old, whom the Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, described as a “good republican”, will be sentenced in January.
Murphy from Hackballscross, County Louth, which is close to the border with Northern Ireland, had pleaded not guilty to nine charges of failing to file returns of his income, profits or gains and the actual source of his income to the inspector of taxes between 1996 to 2004.
But the three judges at the non-jury court in Dublin found Murphy guilty beyond all reasonable doubt on all nine offences.
The case came about after an investigation by Ireland’s Criminal Assets Bureau following a raid on his farm in 2006.
Murphy who was surrounded by a large group of supporters as well as members of his family was remanded on bail. He could face up to five years in jail.
In 1998 Murphy lost a libel appeal in Dublin court after the Sunday Times
alleged he was the director of the IRA’s bombing campaign in Britain as well as helping to import tonnes of weapons from Libya into Ireland during the 1980s.
According to a subsequent BBC investigation Murphy was estimated to control a fortune worth £40m, earned through diesel, cigarettes, grains and pigs.
Murphy, whose farm straddles Co Louth and Co Armagh, Northern Ireland, has never denied being a republican and has stressed his support for the peace process. The IRA’s South Armagh Brigade, which numerous books and documentaries have alleged Murphy commanded, has been loyal to the mainstream republican leadership and Sinn Féin.