Newspaper seller embroiled in tax case

A man who organised a newspaper selling group in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has had to contact his solicitors after being investigated for tax issues.

Not only that, but 28 Romanians who were employed by the man to sell the publications on the streets of Belfast have also had to find solicitors in Northern Ireland as they are suspected of being illegal immigrants.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) launched an enquiry into the two matters after seizing £24,000 in cash from Nicolae Nicola - of Lawrence Street in Belfast - under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Solicitors working on behalf of the PSNI asked a magistrate in Belfast to grant the police an extension to the amount of time they are allowed to retain the money while they investigate tax issues.

The legal status of 28 Romanian workers who sold the Belfast Telegraph for Mr Nicola will also be investigated in this time.

Martin McLaughlin, the solicitor representing the migrant workers, said his clients should be present at the next hearing.

He was quoted by the BBC as saying: "It's all to do with their wages. A lot of them would have very close contacts with their homes. You could say this money is a lifeline to them. They work at a very basic level."

Resident magistrate Fiona Bagnall has adjourned the case until the end of the week.

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