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Nama: Sinn Féin Stormont MLA meets National Crime Agency

The National Crime Agency met with Sinn Féin's Daithí McKay yesterday afternoon
Brendan Hughes

THE Sinn Féin chair of a Stormont committee has met with the British National Crime Agency over the Nama scandal.

Finance committee chair Daithí McKay met with officials from the National Crime Agency (NCA) yesterday afternoon.

It comes as the Law Society is today set to attend the committee as part of its probe into allegations surrounding the £1.3bn property deal.

The NCA is leading a criminal investigation following claims in the Dáil that a £7m offshore account linked to the purchase was earmarked for a northern politician.

Described by some as the British FBI, the NCA only became fully operational in Northern Ireland in May.

Sinn Féin was vocal in its criticism of an assembly vote earlier this year to extend the crime agency's powers to the north.

The NCA began operating in Britain in 2013, but its full powers were not extended to Northern Ireland because of opposition from nationalists.

Both Sinn Féin and the SDLP had opposed the NCA's extension because of concerns over the agency's accountability, but a vote was passed after the SDLP changed its position.

Last week the finance committee created a draft list of witnesses to take part in its probe into the Nama controversy.

However, an assembly spokeswoman last night said the list will be revised today "in light of the meeting with NCA".

The Law Society launched an investigation in January into the circumstances surrounding the departure of Tughans managing partner Ian Coulter.

The Belfast law firm said it contacted the society after professional fees were discovered in an offshore account controlled by Mr Coulter.

In a statement the solicitor has said he received no personal financial benefit from his work on the Nama deal.

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