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Frank Cushnahan doesn't deny receiving cash in first public statement

Frank Cushnahan

FORMER Nama advisor Frank Cushnahan has spoken publicly for the first time since he was reported for possible corruption during his time at the agency.

But in a wide-ranging statement, the under-fire businessman failed to deny receiving £40,000 in cash from Co Down property developer and Nama client John Miskelly.

Instead, he said a recording of the alleged incident, which was broadcast by BBC Spotlight "infringed his privacy".

And he said the controversy surround the sale of Nama's Northern Ireland loan portfolio - known as Project Eagle - had made a "devastating impact... on my own and my wife's (Yvonne) life and health".

Mr Cushanahan who said he had been "treated like a criminal by some sections of the media" added: "The consequential and ongoing needs to ensure that appropriate remedial and palliative care is provide for Yvonne at this difficult time adds significantly to the stressful situation for us both."

Mr Cushnahan, who was recommended for a role on the Nama board by former Stormont finance minister Sammy Wilson, was arrested in June by the National Crime Agency before later being released from police bail.

Last week, Nama reported Mr Cushnahan to Gardai over alleged corruption.

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It follows a BBC Spotlight programme in which covert recordings appeared to reveal the businessman receiving £40,000 from property developer John Miskelly, whose properties were tied up in Nama.

Mr Cushnahan said he was considering legal proceedings into the matter.

"In those circumstances it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further publicly at this time except to stake the following: I was asked to assist Mr Miskelly at a time when I was informaed that Mr Miskelly was terminally ill.

"All dealings that I had with Mr Miskelly were entirely lawful, a fact that has subsequently been conceded in further public statement by Mr Miskelly."

He added: "No accusation has been made (by the NCA) that I have done anything wrong in my dealings with Mr Miskelly or with Nama."

Last week, the Dublin government and opposition parties agreed the £1.2 billion Project Eagle sale should be subject to a statutory investigation.

It followed a report from the Republic's Comptroller & Auditor General which found Nama undervalued its northern assets by as much as £190m when selling it US firm Cerberus in 2014.

It prompted the former head of the National Treasury Management Agency Michael Somers to call for all Nama loan sales to be halted.

"It would seem preferable if Nama loan sales were suspended until the inquiry takes place," he told The Sunday Business Post.

"We can't do much with the money other than pay down debt, and interests rates are close to zero. Whatever review takes place should probably go back to when Nama was set up, given the huge amount of money involved."

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