[JURIST] The man believed to be the commander of the Irish Republican Army [BBC backgrounder] was arrested Wednesday night and charged Thursday with nine counts of tax evasion, totaling $3.7 million. Thomas "Slab" Murphy [Wikipedia profile] is believed to be the chief of staff of the IRA. He was arrested by detectives from the Criminal Assets Bureau [official backgroudner], a division of the Irish police force, after attending a soccer match. Murphy was arraigned at the Ardee District Court in County Louth, before Judge Flan Brennan, and despite urging by the prosecutors, Brennan freed Murphy on bail. Murphy was released on the stipulations that he surrender his Irish passport, report daily to a local police station, and appear in court next Wednesday. Murphy has been brought to court many times, but up until this point he was released without charges.
Murphy is said to be an IRA fuel and weapons smuggler who received aid from Libya. Libya reportedly supplied more than 100 tons of weaponry to the IRA through the 1980s and beyond. Murphy has been in hiding since March 2006, when British and Irish security forces uncovered a large fuel smuggling operation at his farm which straddles the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. AP has more. The Irish Times has local coverage.