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South Armagh residents facing cigarette fraud offences to face Crown court

Both defendants were remanded in custody to appear before Newry Crown Court

Newry Courthouse

Two men facing charges connected to alleged cigarette fraud will face Crown Court proceedings.

It was heard that the accused are alleged to have been involved in the maintenance, repair or construction of commercial cigarette production machinery assisting fraudulent evasion of duty.

Reinolds Kondrats, 29, and Germans Solovjovs, 26, both of Ballynaclosha Road in Silverbridge, appeared at Newry Magistrates’, sitting at Lisburn on Wednesday, for the purpose of a preliminary enquiry.

The accused are charged with possessing articles in connection with fraud, encouraging or assisting fraudulent evasion of duty and knowingly being concerned in defraud goods.

Solovjovs faces one further charge relating to encouraging or assisting fraudulent evasion of duty.

As the charges were read, it was heard that both defendants were accused of being involved in the maintenance, repair or construction of commercial cigarette production machinery on an unknown date between September 1 and November 22, 2019.

On November 21, of last year, the pair are jointly accused of being in possession of commercial cigarette production machinery and associated paraphernalia.

On the same date, they are also alleged to have been concerned in carrying, removing, depositing, harbouring, keeping or concealing of tobacco products.

Solovjovs is also accused of once more being involved in the maintenance, repair or construction of commercial cigarette production machinery on an unknown date between January 1 and November 9, of 2018.

As the defendants appeared via videolink from Maghaberry, defence solicitor Padraig Tiernan stated his clients made no objection to a preliminary enquiry.

Prosecution submitted that based on the papers before the court there was a case to answer.

Mr Tiernan made no contrary submissions to this.

Both defendants were remanded in custody to appear before Newry Crown Court on a date to be fixed.

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