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Accountant Watters 'laid claim' to £7.5m Nama fee

David Watters

A LEADING accountant "laid claim" to the entire £7.5m payment made to a Belfast law firm as part of the Nama northern loan book deal.

In a letter seen by The Irish News, David Watters claimed he was due the "acquisition fee" paid to law firm Tughans following the £1.3bn sale to US investment firm Cerberus last year.

He was one of five men - including DUP leader Peter Robinson - alleged by loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson in Stormont as being in line for payments following the deal.

Mr Watters said afterwards it was "completely false" to claim he "was due to receive a fee from monies paid to an Isle of Man account".

He added: "I had no direct or indirect involvement in the Project Eagle transaction."

However, a letter written by Mr Watters - addressed to Tughans Solicitors and dated in April this year, but sent to businessman Frank Cushnahan - appears to show him demanding a multi-million pound payment.

He states that he is writing to "lay claim to the acquisition fee of £7.5m your firm currently holds".

It is understood Mr Watters, a founding partner of Belfast accountancy firm McClure Watters, believed he was owed money for work carried out in the early stages of the sales process.

He was not involved in negotiations surrounding the actual deal.

In the letter he says the £7.5m was to be paid to a company created for the purpose called Cadogan Futures LLP and after the deal was completed in 2014 he "waited discreetly for the fee to be paid".

It is not known if the letter, marked 'draft', was ever received by Tughans.

Full story here.

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