Republic of Ireland news

Co Louth man set to challenge extradition to Britain on legal point related to Brexit

Stephen Watters (50), of Kilcurry, Dundalk, was held on foot of a European Arrest Warrant

A Co Louth man wanted in Britain for his alleged role in the smuggling of cigarettes and tobacco is expected to challenge his extradition on a legal point related to Brexit.

Stephen Watters (50), with an address at Kilcurry, Dundalk, is wanted for alleged conspiracy to fraudulently evade excise duty and entering into an arrangement to facilitate the acquisition, use or control of criminal property.

He was arrested on foot of a European Arrest Warrant earlier this year and High Court extradition proceedings in the Republic are at an early stage.

A lawyer for Mr Watters asked Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly yesterday for more time to file points of objection to his proposed surrender.

Carol Doherty indicated that her client's case would raise a legal point related to Brexit.

Ms Justice Donnelly remanded him on continuing bail until October 8 with liberty to apply “if there was an early resolution” on the Brexit matter before that date.

The European Arrest Warrant states that the case concerns an “organised crime gang” operating in the north west of England and Republic of Ireland between January 2014 and September 2015.

The gang were allegedly involved in the illegal importation and distribution of “non UK duty paid tobacco products” and the “laundering of monies earned from that fraud”.

Seizures in excess of 17 million cigarettes and 1.5 tonnes of hand rolling tobacco can be attributed to this gang, the warrant states, equating to around £3m of excise duty evaded.

Seven people were requisitioned to appear before Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates Court but when Mr Watters did not attend a warrant was issued for his arrest.

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