Bonus pay allegations are untrue, MI5 agent tells court

21 May 2010
Belfast Telegraph
Paul Higgins

An undercover Secret Service agent giving evidence against three alleged dissident republicans has denied being paid bonuses. Under cross-examination at Belfast Crown Court, the agent known as ‘Amir' claimed he was paid between £200 and £300 for every day he worked on an operation. He told Orlando Pownall QC that if there was a bonus scheme “they must have forgotten to tell me about it”.

The three accused, Paul Anthony John McCaugherty (43), Desmond Paul Kearns (44), and 41-year-old Dermot Declan Gregory aka Michael Dermot Gregory, deny a total of eight charges.

The prosecution claim that during a two-year operation conducted by Security Services between August 2004 and June 2006, Kearns, going by the name of John acted as a go-between, McCaugherty, calling himself Tim, handled money and negotiated deals, and Gregory handled a Portuguese restaurant being used to raise funds for a terrorist group.

Yesterday Amir, giving evidence from behind screens, said the main aim was to befriend John and sell him cigarettes in order to gather intelligence. He told Mr Pownall, who is acting for Kearns, that he never envisaged having to give evidence in a court of law and had only agreed “under threat of arrest and the threat that my anonymity would be lifted”.

The trial continues.

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