Garda deployed to Bangkok to stem flow of money from deception crimes

Commissioner, Drew Harris, said the “long term” operation is part of an expansion of the Garda Liaison Officer (GLO) Network, whereby senior gardai are being deployed across Europe, America, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia and Columbia.
Garda deployed to Bangkok to stem flow of money from deception crimes

David Raleigh

Garda headquarters is developing close links with police in Bangkok to stymie the “flow of money” stolen from unsuspecting victims of deception crimes in Ireland.

The money is then electronically wired through the baking system via the Thai capital.

Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, said the “long term” operation is part of an expansion of the Garda Liaison Officer (GLO) Network, whereby senior gardai are being deployed across Europe, America, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia and Columbia.

The idea is for gardaí to “make connections” with local law enforcement agencies in order to stymie Irish and foreign gangs involved in drugs, murder, deception, cryptocurrency theft, financial fraud and other crimes.

Commissioner Harris was speaking at the graduation of 54 new Gardaí, including recruits from Russia, Tajikistan, Poland, Mauritius, Iraq and England, at the Garda Training College, Templemore, Co Tipperary on Friday.

He said Gardai must have “an international footing as we are always concerned with organised crime, and always in the pursuit of those engaged in it”.

The new links with Bangkok “is in respect, really, of our concerns around the flow of money through criminal assets worldwide, in terms of the following through on large scale fraud, and money that's been defrauded from individuals through various forms of deception, which then moves down into the banking system.

Criminal finance

“If we are at strategic places, throughout the world, we can make a real difference in terms of interdicting movements of criminal finance,” he said.

The Minister for Justice also approved a new GLO post in Abu Dhabi as Gardai pursue members of the Kinihan drugs cartel, which has also been implicated in a plethora of Irish gangland murders.

The Commissioner said: “The overall purpose of this is to make connections with law enforcement worldwide, and where we've placed the Garda Liaison Officers, we've always benefited and profited really from the amount of information leading to investigations and bringing individuals to justice here in Ireland, or indeed, in other jurisdictions."

The GLO’s “primary function is around supporting us in terms of organised crime, terrorism; we’ve a good network already in Europe, and that's well established, we moved on to the United States of America, in 2020, and we moved down to Bogota, last year and those are very significant deployments for us.”

“Bogota has been very important, and just practically having someone there making the connections with local law enforcement, but also then with the other, liaison officer network, it makes a big difference, and it puts us on a global stage.”

Commissioner Harris encouraged the public to continue to provide tip-offs to the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) about other people showing off vast amounts of wealth without any apparent income.

“People do see things, do notice, in effect wealth been shown, which is difficult actually, to understand how an individual could be showing this wealth, even in terms of their personal possessions, what they're doing to their house, the cars they own or drive.

“We are not just after the ‘Mr Bigs’, important as they are, we are pursuing mid-level dealers and taking from them their trappings of wealth obtained from crime," he said.

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