Tuesday 27 September 2016

Peter Robinson named among five who allegedly were to receive payments linked to Nama sale

Published 23/09/2015 | 13:59

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson was among five people who were to receive payments linked to the Nama Project Eagle deal, a parliamentary inquiry has been told.

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The allegation was made under privilege by loyalist figure Jamie Bryson, who was invited to appear before the Northern Assembly’s committee on finance and personnel.

Mr Bryson said he had sight of documents to support his allegations and that these were in the possession of the UK’s National Crime Agency following a visit by its officers to Belfast law firm Tughans.

Read More: Taoiseach stands by Nama but admits Northern Ireland allegations are a 'considerable concern'

According to Mr Bryson, the other alleged beneficiaries were the former Tughans managing partner Ian Coulter, former Nama advisor Frank Cushnahan, accountant David Watters and developer Andrew Creighton.

He said a success fee paid to Tughans for its role in heling US vulture fund Cerberus buy the Project Eagle portfolio was paid into a dormant Danske Bank account in Belfast and transferred from there to an offshore account.

Mr Robinson has previously denied he was the politician supposedly due to benefit from Stg£7.5m held in an Isle of Man bank account under the control of Mr Coulter.

Read More: TD Mick Wallace 'not deterred' by Peter Robinson legal action threat

Mr Coulter has also denied any wrongdoing, as has Mr Cushnahan.

Earlier, Martin McGuinness has said there are "very serious questions" about what capacity Peter Robinson was acting in with regard to the Nama loan sale.

The North’s Deputy First Minister said he was “kept in the dark” about a meeting involving the First Minister and former US Vice President Dan Quayle, now a senior figure with US vulture fund Cerberus, which bought the portfolio for €1.6bn last year.

Mr McGuinness told the committee he was “gobsmacked" when he learned about the meeting afterwards.

He also claimed he was never consulted about a memorandum of understanding – described by Nama as a debtors charter – between the Office of the First Minister and a rival bidder, Pimco.

A spokesman for Andrew Creighton and David Watters said: “There will be no comment at this time.”

Speaking this afternoon Mr Robinson said,

“I repeat, I neither received, expected to receive, sought, nor was I offered a single penny as a result of the NAMA sale.

The allegations made today lack credibility and can have no evidential basis. The scripted performance was little short of pantomime. It is outrageous that such scurrilous and unfounded allegations can be made without providing one iota of evidence.

I am happy to appear before the committee.”

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