Drugs accused wants to visit Belgium to change bank codes

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A businessman charged in connection with the seizure of one tonne of a cocaine cutting agent wants to travel to Belgium to reset his banking codes, the High Court heard.

Kashor Pungi is seeking permission to make a trip where he would also meet his accountant and visit his tobacco warehouse, a judge in Belfast was told.

The 44-year old, with an address at Peppin Lane in Fotherby, Lincolnshire, is currently on bail following an operation mounted in England by PSNI officers assisted by Humberside Police.

Raids on properties in Grimsby last July led to the recovery of a tonne of Benzocaine with an estimated street value of up to £500,000.

Prosecutors alleged the substance was to be sent to Northern Ireland for storage in a lock-up unit in Londonderry.

Pungi faces charges of supplying Benzocaine to assist the illegal drugs trade and converting criminal property, namely cash.

Defence counsel applied to vary his bail terms so he can make a 48-hour trip to Belgium to attend to business and financial affairs.

He told Mr Justice Colton that Pungi must visit his bank in person to have codes reset due to a change in address.

Visits to the accountant and warehouse would also be part of a trip where dates and arrangements would be provided in advance, according to the lawyer.

But prosecutor Robin Steer claimed the plans should cause concern.

“I would have thought someone could verify a change of address without having to physically travel to the bank,” he argued.

Adjourning the application last Friday, the judge requested more details on why the bank visit was absolutely necessary.

Mr Justice Colton added: “He has to persuade me that he has to go in person.”