Former Dublin Airport policeman thought to have laundered millions of pounds is jailed

Former Dublin Airport policeman thought to have laundered millions of pounds is jailed

A FORMER Dublin Airport policeman who authorities believe laundered millions of pounds on hundreds of flights has been jailed for 20 months.

Mark Adams, 42, from Malahide, was extradited to Northern Ireland in August 2021 to face charges related to €180,000 discovered in his hand luggage at Belfast Airport in 2018.

Having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, a judge at Antrim Crown Court this week sentenced him to 20 months in prison.

Describing Adams as a 'serial money launderer', National Crime Agency (NCA) Belfast Branch Commander David Cunningham said the Dubliner 'may have been responsible for laundering many millions of criminal money'.

Wedding claim

Adams came to the attention of the NCA in May 2018 after he was stopped at Belfast International Airport before boarding a flight to Alicante.

More than €180,000 was found by Border Force in his hand luggage inside two folders disguised to look like they contained legally privileged documentation.

Adams claimed he was going to a wedding but checks by NCA investigators revealed he was booked on a return flight just an hour and 20 minutes after he was due to touch down in Spain.

The cash was disguised to look like legally privileged documents (Image: NCA)

Further enquiries found that Adams had taken almost 500 flights into or out of Britain in the preceding five years, often returning shortly after landing at his destination.

Adams, who formally left his police job in February 2017 after a two-year career break, was initially released on bail but failed to return.

After a European Arrest Warrant was issued for him, the reason for his disappearance became clear.

Adams — also a former model and reality TV star — had been taken into custody by Irish authorities charged with four counts of money laundering.

Adams pictured in 2011 on a modelling job for a Road Safety Authority and Garda Síochána Drink Drive Limits campaign (Image: Sam Boal/

One of these charges related to an attempt to smuggle €500,000 out of Dublin Airport in 2015.

An Irish court later sentenced him to five years in prison.

In August 2021, whilst still serving his Irish sentence, Adams was transported by gardaí to the border, where he was picked up by NCA officers.

He was taken to Antrim Magistrates to be charged for the offence committed in Northern Ireland.

Well aware of wrongdoing

"Mark Adams was clearly a serial money launderer on both sides of the Irish border, and as a former policeman he would have been well aware that what he was doing was wrong," said the NCA's Cunningham.

"Working with our Irish colleagues we were able to spot a pattern of him regularly travelling out of airports in both the Republic and UK, and returning home shortly afterwards.

"Each time he is likely to have taken tens or even hundreds of thousands of euros, and may have been responsible for laundering many millions of criminal money in total.

"Working with our law enforcement colleagues on both sides of the border we are determined to do all we can to disrupt the flow of illicit cash, and prevent organised criminals laundering their profits."

Dirty money

Darren Brabon, Interim Assistant Director for Northern Ireland Border Force Command, thanked the Irish authorities for their assistance.

"Clamping down on the export of undeclared cash from the UK is vital in our fight against organised criminal gangs," he said.

"The sentence handed down to Adams today is the result of hard work and dedication from Border Force, the NCA and our partners in the Republic of Ireland to tackle dirty money."