Sunday 21 January 2018

Robinson's accuser invited to outline Nama claim at Dáil

Jamie Bryson: unionist blogger
Jamie Bryson: unionist blogger
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The loyalist figure who alleged that the North's First Minister, Peter Robinson, stood to benefit from the sale of Nama's northern loan portfolio has been invited to meet with the Dáil's spending watchdog.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman John McGuinness wrote to Jamie Bryson yesterday, asking him if he had information to give to the committee. An invitation was also extended to Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay, who chairs the Northern Assembly's Committee on Finance and Personnel.

Both could appear before the PAC as early as next Thursday.

"As chairman of the PAC, I am asking them would they give us the benefit of their knowledge on this," said Mr McGuinness.

Mr McKay's committee has been inquiring into the sale of Nama's northern loan portfolio for several weeks and has heard allegations of corruption in political, banking, accountancy and legal circles. Members of both committees have previously flagged the possibility of cross-border co-operation.

The loan portfolio was sold to US vulture fund Cerberus for €1.6bn last year, but the deal has been shrouded in controversy amid allegations of planned kickback payments involving over £7m (€9.5m) in an Isle of Man bank account.

An anti-Good Friday Agreement unionist and blogger, Mr Bryson claims to have been passed sensitive information by sources close to the deal.

Earlier this week, he told the Stormont inquiry that Mr Robinson was among five people who had been due to benefit from the deal.

In the aftermath of the claims, Mr Robinson and two others, accountant David Watters and developer Andrew Creighton, issued statements denying they had received or had ever been in line to receive payments. Two others named, former Nama advisor Frank Cushnahan and solicitor Ian Coulter, had both previously denied any wrongdoing.

PAC member Shane Ross said Nama had "serious questions to answer about its level of knowledge about certain matters surrounding this deal".

Irish Independent

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