Nama letter shows Cushnahan had "designated assistants at Tughans"

Former Nama northern advisory committee member Frank Cushnahan

The law firm at the centre of the Nama northern portfolio sale scandal has played down the support it gave to Frank Cushanahan while he worked from its Belfast city centre office.

Tughans claims the man who was in line to receive £5m for his part in Cerberus's purchase of the bad bank's Northern Ireland debt book was among a number of people outside the company who used its Marlborough House building.

The company has insisted the former Belfast Harbour Commissioners chairman used a "self-contained office" and received "some secretarial assistance from time to time".

Tughans said that Mr Cushnahan was a "referrer of work to the practice" as well as other law firms.

"As with any professional services firm on occasion, clients, referrers of work and other bodies request use of meeting room facilities and they are accommodated where appropriate," a statement from the company earlier this month said.

Yet correspondence between Mr Cushnahan and Nama, obtained by the Irish News through a Freedom of Information request, supports claims that he received more than occasional secretarial assistance from Tughans.

A letter from Mr Cushnahan discussing with Nama the return or secure disposal of documents he acquired during his time on the bad bank's northern advisory board refers to his "designated assistants" at the company.

"I confirm that I have returned to you/securely disposed of all documentation obtained while a member of the Northern Ireland Advisory Committee of Nama," the correspondence states.

"This includes all information received on my behalf by my designated assistants at Tughans. I confirm that the documentation was returned to you/securely disposed of in a manner as to fully protect the confidentiality of its contents."

The Irish News previously revealed how clients and potential clients who came to Tughans to meet Mr Cushnahan would be entertained in the law firm's library, where tea and coffee would be provided by its employees.

It is also understood that the former Nama Northern Ireland adviser recommended companies use the services of First Minister Peter Robinon's son Gareth and his company Verbatim.


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