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Charges dropped against two men over 2004 Northern Bank heist in Belfast

Charges dropped against two men over 2004 Northern Bank heist in Belfast

Prosecutors dropped charges Wednesday against two men accused of involvement in a massive 2004 robbery of the Northern Bank's central vault in Belfast.
State prosecutors said they considered dossiers of evidence compiled by police against the two men were inadequate to secure convictions.
British, Irish and international authorities blamed the outlawed Irish Republican Army for committing the Dec. 20, 2004, raid on the Northern Bank, when 26.5 million pounds (US$50 million, euro38 million) was stolen _ the second-largest cash theft in British history.
The IRA denied involvement, nobody has been convicted and police have failed to find most of the missing millions. Now, two of the police's three suspects have walked free.
Dominic McEvoy, 23, was charged with holding a Northern Bank official and his wife hostage and possessing a firearm. Martin McAliskey, 42, was charged with making false statements to police about the purchase, possession and sale of a van used to carry off the cash.
Still facing a charge of robbery is Northern Bank official Chris Ward, who was shift supervisor at the bank building the night of the raid.
Ward, 25, has admitted helping the robbers, but insists he was forced to do so because part of the gang was holding his family hostage and threatening to kill them unless he cooperated.