Irish Republican News · November 15, 2014
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Fake loan company is MI5 front


A fake short-term loan company was set up in an office block in central Belfast in a bid to recruit informers, it has emerged.

A north Belfast man said he was tricked into meeting British military intelligence when he attempted to borrow money after his release from a prison sentence for involvement in an IRA group.

He said he was contacted by a person claiming to represent ‘Local Loans NI’, a payday loan company operating out of premises just yards from the nationalist Markets area.

A firm of that name had been renting office space at the location for a few days at a time on an informal basis for around a year, it was reported. However, it is not registered as a business and the location is once again vacant.

The man said he applied to borrow money online from a legitimate finance company but was contacted by ‘Local Loans NI’ and asked to come to the Regus building in Cromac Square three weeks ago.

He believes British intelligence were aware of his financial problems and attempted to exploit them.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said he got a call from a woman who told him he had been approved for a loan and asked him to come to the office to sign paperwork.

“When I went there were two women in their twenties waiting in reception and they said we were going in the lift to the second floor,” he said.

“At that stage it all still seemed legit. When we got to the second floor they walked me into an office and there was a man there in his forties.

“One of the women said: ‘I haven’t been entirely honest with you - I don’t work for a loan company, I work for British intelligence’.

“I got up to leave and the man stood up and said: ‘We just want a word with you, we’ve a few grand there for you no strings attached’.”

The man said he then left and has since contacted his lawyer. He said he believes British intelligence tried to exploit his financial problems.

The incident recalls events in the early 1970s, when a covert British army unit ran front companies in Belfast to gather intelligence on the IRA.

The bogus ‘Four Square Laundry’ visited homes in west Belfast twice a week to collect and deliver clothes, which were then forensically checked for explosives.

The discovery of the undercover operation by the Provisional IRA led to the deaths of two informers in 1972.

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