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Cops hunt slain terror chief's cash.

Byline: JOE OLIVER

MURDERED terror boss Jim 'Jonty' Johnston left a pounds 2 million fortune that Ulster cops can't get their hands on.

The People has learned the money is out of their reach - tied up in property holdings and secret accounts in the Republic.

The disclosure comes just days after Johnston's bank accounts and homes, valued at pounds 1.5 million, were frozen.

Assets Recovery chief Alan McQuillan was given control of the 'illegal' estate by a High Court judge in Belfast. But the ruling covered only assets in Northern Ireland.

It will be up to the court-appointed official receiver or Irish Criminal Assets Bureau to try to recover the missing cash.

One loyalist source, a former trusted sidekick of Johnston's, revealed: "The bulk of his money is in the south. Jonty was turning over about pounds 7,000 a day from drugs.

"He literally had money to burn. Once he sent thousands up in smoke because he was tipped off that the cops were about to raid his house.

"He was doing a lot of business in the south and for the past three or four years.

"He was buying up property but was always careful about whose name went on the documents.

"Jonty had connections on both sides of the border as well as in Spain and Holland. He intended to get out while the going was good and set up homes in the south and Spain."

But last May Johnston, head of the UVF-linked Red Hand Commando in North Down, was gunned down outside his pounds 500,000 home in Crawfordsburn in a struggle for control of the Gold Coast's drug trade.

Former police chief McQuillan insisted last night there was no safe hiding place for dirty money.

He told The People: "The official receiver can take action to repatriate property to this jurisdiction.

"We work closely with CAB and if we identify property on their patch they can act to recover it."
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Sep 14, 2003
Words:327
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