Exposed: How an elusive expat gangster controls George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell’s bagmen

But the 56-year-old money launderer is far from poor while living on a hefty gangland salary – the equivalent of a €100,000-a-year job and working just a few days a month.

Its boss, Robbie Murphy, is one of the most elusive figures in the underworld and had managed to stay off the radar for decades until Gardai grabbed his bagman and grabbed the records of the ” society”.

They showed that €12 million crossed the books in Ireland in just one year and more than €90,000 was spent on encrypted cellphones to hide traces of the laundered loot.

Gardai followed the lead to Liverpool where the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) identified a close associate of Murphy and his girlfriend, who they said were ‘washing’ other funds through a money saloon. high level hairstyle.

Murphy, a convicted Artane robber, is a longtime friend and business associate of George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell and the couple vacation together each year on yachts off North Africa .

Despite working together for decades, officers believe the splintered network was overseen only by Murphy, who employed Lawlor and his cab driver sidekick Ross Hanway as normal staff members with monthly salaries, bonuses Christmas and regular pay raises.

Lawlor was caught attempting to move over €400,000 in Hanway’s taxi. A follow-up search at his home uncovered a further €500,000 in a variety of different currencies in the garden shed. Later, a bank account containing over €100,000 was frozen and a Mercedes luxury car was seized.

Photographs

He is still under investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) while evidence uncovered during the arrest in Ireland has revealed a treasure trove of intelligence about Murphy.

Lawlor was sentenced to seven years in prison this week while Hanway was sentenced to four years in prison. Neither had prior convictions and had remained under the radar for years while serving in key roles in the drug mob.

A wider investigation of Murphy identified his movements between the Netherlands, Portugal and South America.

Murphy is one of the most low-key drug bosses operating in the world and he has remained so reclusive and image-conscious that no pictures of him exist in public forums.

He vacations every summer on a yacht off the Canary Islands with Mitchell and other members of their inner circle.

Gardai believes he operates his drug business completely separately from finances, and those in key positions in each department have no idea who is in the other.

Murphy and Mitchell long seemed to be the ones to get away, but a series of blows to their operations in Ireland left them reeling.

Both run their drug and money laundering empires with military precision. They are believed to have developed their own coding language and are obsessed with keeping a low profile and turning off phones unless they are encrypted.

They continue to move, staying between apartments, houses and hotel rooms across Europe, Asia, North Africa and South America.

Both grew up in Dublin but fled Ireland in the mid-1990s with the big league of heroin, ecstasy and cannabis traffickers who found themselves facing a major crackdown on their activities from the gardai and the Provisional IRA.

Murphy and Mitchell left with Thomas ‘The Boxer’ Mullen and Derek ‘Maradona’ Dunne and all were blamed for the second wave of the heroin epidemic that hit already hard hit and impoverished communities in the 1990s.

They fell foul of the IRA and their own communities and initially moved in and out of the country fearing for their safety and basing themselves between the UK and the Netherlands.

Murphy moved to Amsterdam with Mitchell and the pair began working together, building a massive wholesale network that saw them deal directly with Colombian drug lords to boost their profits.

Ladder

Officers from the Bureau of Drugs and Organized Crime have repeatedly sought to harm Mitchell and Murphy’s Irish operations in any way possible, while working with international partners to share intelligence and tip-offs.

However, their network and reach are said to be similar in size and scale to the Kinahan Organized Crime Group, with which they once worked.

Mitchell and Murphy both took a “neutral” stance on the Kinahan/Hutch feud after it got serious in 2016, refusing to side with either side. Mitchell even moved to Germany for a while and away from the Costa Del Sol where he had been living for over 10 years with his Dutch-Moroccan girlfriend.

Murphy stayed on the move, traveling through Europe and South America. However, he had officers hot on his trail and despite his best efforts to keep the running of his business a secret, he will count the costs of the guard’s targeting of his financial fixers.

This week, Lawlor and Hanway pleaded guilty to possession of cash that was the proceeds of crime and portrayed themselves as tragic figures in court.

Lawlor claimed he had fallen on hard times, borrowing money from criminals and then being tortured before coming to terms with his involvement in the gang. Hanway, the court heard, has mental health issues. He was earning €4,000 a month for driving Lawlor in his taxi with the money and had worked for Murphy for five years.

Lawlor’s son Ian was also jailed after drugs were found in the house during the search.

Garda Detective Ronan Dillon previously told the court that following a tip, officers from the Garda Bureau of Drugs and Organized Crime set up a surveillance operation at Lawlor’s home in Collins Avenue West in Dublin and saw the father leave with a heavy rucksack on his return.

They watched him get into a taxi which pulled up beside him without being signaled. When Gardai stopped the car, the backpack contained €412,000 in cash, while the two had encrypted phones.

George Mitchell was last found in a sleepy German town in the Mosel Valley by the Sunday world in 2015 that linked it to an underground bunker hosting dark net activity. He was then trying to launch his own encrypted telephone network.

James V. Hayes