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Nama: Frank Cushnahan breaks silence but refuses to address allegations

Former Nama adviser Frank Cushnahan declined to respond to questions
Brendan Hughes

FOR the past seven months Frank Cushnahan has remained silent on the Nama scandal, speaking only in carefully worded statements issued through his lawyers.

On Thursday the high-profile businessman spoke for the first time when The Irish News called at his upmarket Co Down home.

However, he repeatedly refused to address allegations surrounding Nama's Northern Ireland portfolio deal that has led to parliamentary probes and a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.

Mr Cushnahan lives within an exclusive gated residence in a leafy area of Holywood, where house prices can exceed half a million pounds.

Audio: Frank Cushnahan speaks to The Irish News

The former banker seemed surprised that he could be tracked down, until it was pointed out that his details are publicly available.

Speaking through an intercom buzzer beside the locked metal gates, he said: "I don't know how you got my number because this is a private number."

Through his legal representatives, Mr Cushnahan (74) has consistently denied any wrongdoing or that he was due to receive money from Nama's £1bn property loans sale.

But in covert filming aired by BBC Spotlight on Monday, the former Nama adviser was heard saying he was due to be paid a 'fixer's fee'.

His legal advisers have refused to answer questions when given opportunities to explain the disparity between the footage and public statements.

On Thursday, Mr Cushnahan also declined to address the matter, referring all queries to his lawyers.

"Given that there's a National Crime Agency investigation to which I am party, I am making no statements at all," he said from his home, overlooked by mature trees and carefully manicured hedgerows.

"The answer to this is I have no comments to make, and I'm not going to be, with what's going on with the National Crime Agency, in circumstances where a programme has come out.

"So look, it's kind of you to ring, but I am making no comments."

In November, former Tughans solicitor Ian Coulter was questioned by the NCA as part of its investigation. He denies wrongdoing.

The Irish News understands Mr Cushnahan was due to be questioned by the NCA early last month.

But Mr Cushnahan refused to say if he has yet been questioned.

"I have no comments to make whatsoever. The answer to this very plainly is that I have a criminal lawyer, and you're quite right he deals with matters, and I have a litigation lawyer, one of the best in the business, and that's why I use them," he said.

"I have no comments to make to anybody in any circumstances associated with this unless my lawyer is there, and that's the way it is.

"I hope it's not being rude to you but that's the story."

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