Sentencing of alleged former IRA chief and proven tax cheat Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy for tax evasion was deferred last week until the day of Ireland’s General Election on 26 February
A court in Dublin found Mr Murphy, 66, owes the Irish taxman almost 190,000 euros, or £147,000, after dodging payments for eight years between 1996 to 2004.
Murphy, from Hackballscross, County Louth, was found guilty of nine counts of tax fraud by three judges at the non-jury Special Criminal Court in December. Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams described Murphy – who supported the IRA ceasefire and Sinn Fein’s acceptance of the Good Friday Agreement – as a good republican.
Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said peace was only secured thanks to support from men like him.
The 32- day trial heard that Murphy received 100,000 (£73,000) in farm grants and paid out 300,000 (£220,000) to rent land and he was involved in hundreds of thousands of euro worth of cattle deals, buying and selling animals at marts up and down the country.
He was charged with five counts under the Republic’s Taxes Consolidation Act and four under the Finance Act that he knowingly and wilfully failed to make tax returns and did so without reasonable excuses.
Murphy denied all counts but the court, which normally hears terrorism and organised crime trials, rejected defence claims that it was his brother Patrick who ran the farming operation and controlled the finances.
It also rejected claims that Murphy’s signature was forged on documents linking him to the farm and earnings.
n the conviction ruling Judge Paul Butler said that reports before and during the trial about Murphy’s ‘unconnected activities’ had no bearing on the judgment.