The IRA fund raising model
A commission investigating Northern Ireland's paramilitary groups has concluded that an "elite robbery team" from the Irish Republican Army was behind not only a $50 million bank job in Belfast in December but three other major robberies last year.If the IRA were in the US it would be subject to RICO, a law passed to control orgtanized crime.
"We have carefully scrutinized all the material of different kinds that has become available to us since the [December] robbery, which leads us to conclude firmly that it was planned and undertaken by the IRA," said the four-member Independent Monitoring Commission in a report to the governments of Great Britain and Ireland.
Those incidents, which authorities think were carried out by the IRA's "elite robbery team," included a raid in May at a cash-and-carry store in Dunmurry, where four staff members were held at gunpoint, tied up and gagged, while the robbers made off with more than $2 million in cigarettes, alcohol and electrical items.
The IRA also was tied to a $4 million robbery at a warehouse in Ardoyne in October and an abduction and a robbery at an Iceland store in Strabane in September.
Those robberies, like the Dec. 20 robbery of the headquarters of the Northern Bank in Belfast in December, used an IRA tactic known as "tiger kidnapping," where the family of an employee of the targeted business is held hostage to ensure his cooperation.
Since April 2004, there have been 11 "tiger kidnappings," at least four of which have been blamed on the IRA. The organization has a long history of supporting its military activities with bank robberies, but it has refrained in recent years as part of the peace process.