Pictured: The boss of a taxi company who used UVF’s name to sell cocaine
He is the businessman who used a taxi company as a cover for his cocaine trafficking empire.
aul ‘Wiggle’ Mawhinney, who until recently was director of Call-A-Cab in Bangor, told his clients he was selling cocaine and cannabis for the loyalist paramilitary group.
The 50-year-old gangster was actually working for himself and now faces financial ruin after agreeing to hand over £ 60,000 in assets to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
There is no indication that any other former or current employees or directors of the taxi company were involved in the crime.
Mawhinney refused to speak to Sunday Life when we visited his Call-A-Cab premises on Balloo Road in Bangor.
“I have nothing to say to anyone about this,” he replied when asked if he was a member of the UVF and a drug dealer.
The NCA had been investigating Mawhinney for some time before a High Court judgment last week that ordered him to hand over £ 60,000 – of which £ 45,000 came from the sale of a motorhome.
A judge was told he had “suspected links to East Belfast UVF” and had been implicated in fraud and money laundering.
Loyalist sources told the newspaper that although Mawhinney used the UVF name as a cover to sell drugs, he was not a member. After his criminal behavior was revealed, he allegedly paid the group several thousand pounds.
But that didn’t stop an NCA investigation into how he obtained his considerable wealth, including an impressive £ 350,000 home in the lavish Millreagh development in Dundonald.
“Mawhinney was a lower ranking member of the Red Hand Commando group in Bangor,” a source explained.
“A few years ago he got involved in drug trafficking and used the name UVF to get rival criminals to leave him alone.
“When the UVF found him, he grabbed hold of him and told him to hit him on the head. He was never a member of the UVF and he has absolutely no protection from the organization.
Loyalists claim that before Mawhinney was shut down, he made his fortune by supplying drugs to Bangor, Newtownards and Dundonald.
He resigned as a director of Call-A-Cab NI Ltd last November and sold 50% of his shares in the company after learning about the NCA’s investigation into his criminal holdings.
However, Mawhinney remains a director of Auto Collision NI Ltd, which is registered at the same address on Balloo Road. The company provides courtesy cars to drivers whose vehicles have been involved in traffic accidents. There is no suggestion that other employees were involved in his crimes.
Loyalists say Mawhinney has kept a low profile since the High Court ruling last week against him over fears that his involvement in the drug trade is known.
“That’s the one thing he didn’t want people to know – that he was involved in the supply of cocaine,” our source added.
The civil recovery order of £ 60,000 against Mawhinney, to which he consented, was granted on September 14 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The investigation into him was a joint effort between the NCA and the Paramilitary Crime Task Force.
NCA Director of Operations Steven Brown said, “The NCA’s civilian collection and taxation powers allow us to hit them in the pocket and take away the assets they have obtained through their activities. criminal.
“This result demonstrates that our financial investigators will find and recover the proceeds of crime, no matter how carefully they are hidden.”