Report: Libya Gave IRA over Six Million Pounds for Guns

Published May 28th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A secret file by the British domestic intelligence service known as MI5 has revealed how the IRA was funded by Libya "to wage a terrorism campaign in Britain", reported Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), quoting British reports Sunday.  

The Sunday Times newspaper reported in a front page story that it has seen a document describing in detail how 6.75 million pounds was handed over by  

Libyan agents to an IRA courier known as "Cassidy", during visits to Tripoli  

Airport, said KUNA.  

The publication said that Libyan support for the IRA is known, but the extent of its financial backing for seven years until 1990 and details of the payments have long been a "mystery".  

The MI5 documents include minutes of meetings between a Libyan government official and a senior MI5 officer.  

Libya agreed to disclose how it paid the IRA as part of a deal to end UN sanctions, the agency said quoting the newspaper.  

Several meetings were held in Cairo in the early 90s, during which Libyan diplomats gave British officials details of Tripoli's backing of the IRA.  

KUNA added that one document quoted a Libyan official describing how cash was handed over "by pre-arranged exchanges of identical suitcases in the airport cafe or transit lounge at Tripoli".  

MI5 also was told, according to the Sunday Times, how arrangements to deliver cash and weapons were made at IRA-Sinn Fein meetings with Libyans posing as students in Ireland, the agency said.  

Much of the money was invested by the IRA in property in Ireland, including hotels, a golf course and a fishing resort, said the report.  

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times pointed that Britain has launched a diplomatic offensive to win commercial contracts with Libya.  

It hosted a trade fair in Tripoli earlier this month in which some best-known companies, including shell, were encouraged to compete for Libyan contracts, the report added - Albawaba.com  

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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