McKevitt had hoped to forge Tamil ties, FBI agent tells court

The reputed leader of the real IRA, Michael McKevitt, tried to develop links with the Iraqis and the Tamil Tigers, his trial in Dublin was told yesterday. According to a witness statement, Mr McKevitt, who had also hoped to obtain state sponsorship for his organisation, sent representatives to a human rights convention in Geneva hoping to make contacts but was disappointed when they "came home empty-handed."

The evidence was given by David Rupert, an agent for the FBI and MI5. He said a British investigation was launched after he reported Mr McKevitt discussing Iraq.

Mr Rupert was giving evidence for the fourth day against Mr McKevitt, who is charged with being a member of the Real IRA and with directing terrorism. He is the first person to be charged under legislation introduced after the Omagh bomb attack in 1998, when 29 people died.

Mr Rupert said he had preferred to work as an undercover intelligence agent reporting on Mr McKevitt and other republicans, having originally turned down an FBI request to give evidence against him in open court. He said there would be a danger of being shot, adding: "I ranked testifying just below hitting my head with a sledgehammer. It was going to severely alter the rest of our lives."

Mr Rupert said he changed his mind after chancing to watch a television documentary on Omagh and seeing a young woman who was blinded and a boy who had lost his shoulder bones.

The court also heard details of a contract Mr Rupert had signed with the FBI giving him a total of $19,000 a month. Mr Rupert said under cross- examination that he had been involved in three bankruptcies. He also said he had left many creditors in the small town where he had lived, adding: "When you file for bankruptcy you are released from a legal obligation to pay."

Mr Rupert also admitted to having used both a Rolls-Royce and a De Lorean car but told counsel he had never heard the saying about De Lorean - "built by a crook, driven by a crook".

Mr Rupert, who has been described as central to the prosecution, agreed that 1974 was a bad year for him. Counsel said: "Your well-insured house burnt down," and he agreed he had faced bankruptcy and was charged with issuing two bad cheques.

The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own