Arrests maintain ‘bank heist’ controversy
Arrests maintain ‘bank heist’ controversy

A former IRA POW who was arrested and released over the Northern Bank raid is to lodge a complaint with Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan about his ordeal.

Brian Arthurs, whose brother Declan was shot dead by the British Army’s SAS in 1987, was seized in Dungannon on Thursday.

The PSNI have long blamed the Provisional IRA for the raid, but the IRA has repeatedly denied any involvement in the heist.

The County Tyrone man denied any involvement in the bank robbery or the IRA, and suggested his arrest was a set up.

“Over the last six months my name has begun appearing in various newspapers, claiming I am a senior IRA man, even a member of the army council and the link man with General de Chast-elain on decommissioning - all nonsense,” said Arthurs.

Under the Good Friday Agreement, Arthurs was released from jail in 2000. sentence for explosives offences.

The peace process has been hit by a series of apparently staged controversies over alleged break-ins, robberies and ‘spy rings’ over the last five years. The current events are being seen by nationalists in that context.

A total of eight arrests have been made in the case, with only one, 23-year-old Dominic McEvoy, charged.

McEvoy appeared in court charged with the Northern robbery and the kidnapping of a bank official and his wife last week. He has denied the charges, as well as claims that he is a member of the Provisional IRA.

It is understood that the evidence against Mr McEvoy is that his DNA, along with another unknown persons’ DNA, was found on a hat at the scene where the family of a bank official was held hostage.

When responding to the charges, Mr McEvoy said that the hat with his DNA may have been left at the scene by someone else, or possibly planted there.

Cash from the raid was found in a police social club in south Belfast in the weeks following the raid. The PSNI claimed the money had been planted at the club as a decoy.

A third man was arrested over the weekend in the County Down village of Kilcoo, where there have been disturbances following a major police operation last week.

Earlier, Peter Morgan hit out after spending almost 48 hours under PSNI interrogation in connection with last year’s infamous $50 million robbery.

Mr Morgan, who was released without charge on Thursday, said the entire experience had been shattering.

“I am devastated that my liberty has been taken from me for the past two days for something I had absolutely nothing to do with.

“I’m in shock that in this day and age I can be taken away from my life and work for absolutely nothing.”

His lawyer Niall Murphy said he had beein interviewed seven times and not one piece of evidence was presented to him.

“He is also very angry at certain media outlets for naming him without recourse to him and obviously taking the word of ‘securocrats’.”

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