Sunday Mail News Special: You've Got to Be Kidding; GANGLAND INVESTIGATORS CLAIM CHILDREN'S BANK ACCOUNTS WERE USED TO LAUNDER DIRTY MILLIONS

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Byline: By RUSSELL FINDLAY and JAMES OLIVER

A BUSINESSMAN has been accused of laundering drugs money through his children's bank accounts.

Crown prosecutors who are targeting Russell Stirton's estimated pounds 3million fortune say he also used his best friend and brother-in-law Tony McGovern's three kids' accounts to hide the proceeds of his criminal dealings.

Drug dealer McGovern, a leading member of a notorious Glasgow crime clan, was shot dead in 2000. His children's bank accounts and savings policies have now been frozen, along with those in the names of five of Stirton's six kids.

The Sunday Mail has obtained court documents that reveal how investigators believe Stirton laundered his fortune. They have frozen his assets and want to confiscate them under the Proceeds of Crime ActThe frozen assets include three houses, a service station, a pub, 20 bank accounts, ten child and three adult savings or insurance policies and almost pounds 20,000 cash.

They include the Stirton family home in Mugdock, near Milngavie, which is worth at least pounds 500,000.

A service station which was run by Stirton and sidekick Alex Anderson and frozen at the start of the inquiry has now been sold to oil firm Rix.

Other assets being scrutinised include the Milngavie house of Stirton's mother Jessie, Anderson's Uddingston home and McGovern family haunt Thomson's Bar.

Investigators swooped on Stirton, whose wife Jackie is Tony McGovern's sister, in a series of dawn raids last year.

The raids took place a year after the Sunday Mail exposed Stirton's vast business empire and revealed how his garage was selling the cheapest fuel in Britain.

Action was taken after reports from finance institutions suggested the garage could be laundering money. Stirton, 42, and Anderson faced criminal charges but the case against them has since been dropped.

The gangland asset-strippers led by police and money laundering experts at the Civil Recovery Unit have frozen cash and property worth pounds 38 million under the Proceeds of Crime Act introduced four years ago.

The new laws mean the owners, who are suspected of criminal activity, do not have to be convicted of any offence but must prove their fortunes are legitimate.

The court petition reveals investigators believe Stirton has been involved in drugs trafficking for decades.

He has criminal convictions and was once charged with supplying heroin and possessing shotguns. His wife Jackie also has convictions for dishonesty.

The petition states: ``Stirton is reasonably believed to have been involved in the supply of controlled drugs since at least 1983. …