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Taoiseach denies investing in golf project

THE Taoiseach has repeated denials that he had any financial involvement in a multi-million-euro golf development in Hungary.

The denial came following claims over the weekend that Brian Cowen had invested in the development to be funded by Anglo Irish Bank through a company called Golf Central Europe KFT, in the small Hungarian village of Pilismarot.

Last night a spokesman for Mr Cowen said there was "no truth whatsoever" in suggestions that he had been involved with the project, whose backers included disgraced Anglo Irish boss Sean FitzPatrick and Mr Cowen's long-time friend and adviser Fintan Drury.

In January 2004, Mr FitzPatrick and Mr Drury travelled to the eastern European country to give a presentation to the locals in the village about the project and convince them to sell their land.

However, at the time the mayor of the town, Laszlo Benkovics, had already given the 27-hole Bernhard Langer-designed course the go-ahead and had rezoned the land from agricultural to sporting.

Company records showed that Mr Drury was listed as the president of Golf Central.

Anglo Irish had already advanced a €10m credit line to the company for the development.

When pressed on the matter, Mr Cowen's spokesman added: "Brian Cowen hasn't been in Hungary in the past two years.

"This has come up before and there's no truth to it."

Irish Independent