Builder who gave Iris's lover cash made DUP donation
Published 13/01/2010 | 05:00
A developer who gave Iris Robinson a £25,000 (€27,890) cheque to fund her teenage lover's business has admitted he made a contribution to the Democratic Unionist Party.
Multi-millionaire Ken Campbell made the admission yesterday as investigations by the Stormont and Westminster parliaments began looking at Mrs Robinson's sex-and-money scandal.
The revelation came as rumours ran amok in Belfast at the prospect of high-powered inquiries looking into roles played by each of the Robinsons. The team from the Northern Ireland Assembly's committee on standards and privileges looking into the scandal will be led by Northern Ireland ombudsman Tom Frawley.
It was also speculated that the six-week deadline laid down for Peter Robinson to step aside as first minister would not be sufficient for the investigations to complete their work.
Mr Campbell, from Co Down, said he contributed between £4,000 and £5,000 to the DUP some years ago but insisted he never donated any money to its current leader or his wife.
His spokesman said: "He did make a small contribution to the DUP several years ago. He never made a personal donation to Peter Robinson."
Mr Campbell and Mr Robinson are close friends.
Last week, the BBC 'Spotlight' programme that broke the scandal, reported that the two £25,000 payments to Mr McCambley were gifts.
But lawyers for Mr Campbell say the £25,000 had been an interest-free loan to Mr McCambley and that he has repaid £20,000 (€22,315) while £5,000 (€5.580) is outstanding.
The BBC reported that Mrs Robinson received £5,000 in cash from Mr McCambley when she delivered the two £25,000 cheques to him.
The family of Fred Frazer, who was also friendly with Mr Robinson, have confirmed that Mrs Robinson asked the late Mr Frazer to donate £25,000 to Mr McCambley in June 2008, just weeks before he died.
The inquiries are expected to seek verification of Mrs Robinson's statement where she said the donations had been solicited before she and the then teenager became lovers.
They will be following the money trail of the payments solicited by Mrs Robinson, a partial repayment to one of the developers and an allegation that Mrs Robinson kept £5,000.
Regulation laid down by the NI Assembly and Westminster (Mrs Robinson is an MP and Assembly member) on the declarations of interest and payments solicited to, and received by, members will be examined.
Mrs Robinson is a member of Castlereagh Council that leased premises for a cafe to Mr McCambley. Their inquiry will try to determine if Mrs Robinson declared a material interest when the lease was discussed.