Real IRA chief's brother 'caught in arms sting'

A brother of one of the men blamed for the Omagh bomb atrocity paid €10,000 (£8,600) to arm the Real IRA with guns and explosives from Lithuania, a court heard today.

Michael Campbell was arrested in an undercover operation in the Baltic state after handing over cash to buy a sniper rifle, detonators and timers, the court in Vilnius city was told.

New details of the international sting operation emerged today as the trial was adjourned until October.

Lithuanian prosecutors alleged Campbell attempted to negotiate a deal for guns, ammunition and bomb-making materials for the dissident republican group.

He faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

The defendant is the brother of Liam Campbell, who was successfully sued by the relatives of the Omagh victims for the 1998 bomb attack which killed 29 people.

The pair are from the Upper Faughart area near Dundalk, Co Louth, in the Irish Republic, close to the border with Northern Ireland.

Michael Campbell is charged with supporting a terrorist group by attempting to smuggle firearms, ammunition, and explosive devices from Lithuania to Ireland.

Irmantas Mikelionis, deputy chief prosecutor of Vilnius, said Campbell was arrested in January 2008 following the operation involving the British, Irish and Lithuanian intelligence agencies.

It is alleged the 36-year-old paid undercover Lithuanian agents 10,000 euro for the weapons including a sniper rifle, detonators, timers and about 10kg (22lb) of high explosives, in a garage in the industrial zone of Vilnius.

It is also claimed he illegally carried and fired from a rifle, an AK-74 and pistols and examined a sniper rifle, mechanic timers and high explosive trotyl.

It is maintained agents were asked how much of the lethal substance would be needed to blow up a police car or government fire-proof car, and if they would train Real IRA members on how to use the weapons.

Campbell, who has been in custody in Lithuania since his arrest, has not yet entered a plea.

Meanwhile, authorities in Vilnius have begun extradition proceedings against three men - Liam Campbell, Seamus McGreevy and Brendan McGuigan - who are wanted for questioning in relation to the alleged arms smuggling operation.

"The General Prosecutor of Lithuania has issued European arrest warrants, and we are seeking that they would be surrendered," added Mr Mikelionis.

Liam Campbell is in custody in Northern Ireland, while the case against McGuigan, 29, of Omeath, Co Louth and McGreevy, 56, of Gormanstown, Co Meath, will be heard in Dublin's High Court in November.

All charges have been dropped against a woman who was detained with Michael Campbell.

The Real IRA splinter group was responsible for the no-warning Omagh bomb in 1998 in which 29 people were murdered, including a woman pregnant with twins.

In a landmark multi-million civil lawsuit, Liam Campbell and three others were successfully sued by the relatives of the Omagh victims earlier this year.

The Real IRA was also found liable for the attack.

In June, Mr Justice Morgan awarded more than £1.6 million (1.84 million euro) in damages to 12 named relatives who took the action.

The judge said he was satisfied Liam Campbell was a member of the army council of the Real IRA at the time of the bombing.

Suggested Topics
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
Life and Style
food + drink
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial IT Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Commercial IT Solicitor - London We h...

Business Analyst / Project Manager - Financial Services

£40000 - £45000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: One of the mos...

Lead Business Analyst - Banking - London - £585

£525 - £585 per day: Orgtel: Lead Business Analyst - Investment Banking - Lond...

Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home