Co Down developer John Miskelly arrested by NCA, according to Nama Land author

Nama Land author Frank Connolly. Picture by Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

The author of the best-selling book 'Nama Land' believes more "very serious revelations" will emerge about the controversial sale of the so-called bad bank's Northern Ireland debt portfolio.

Journalist Frank Connolly, who will launch his latest work in Belfast tomorrow, said he expects "sensational" details about the scandal that stretched from Stormont to Wall Street and involved a US vice president to come out in the coming months.

But the National Crime Agency's (NCA) live investigation into the sale of Project Eagle prevents the new evidence being revealed at present.

The scandal is also being probed in the US by the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission in separate investigations, while in the Republic there is an ongoing commission of inquiry.

In the closing chapter of the book, which was completed in September this year, the author reveals that the 54-year-old arrested by the NCA in August was Co Down developer John Miskelly, the Nama debtor who made secret recordings of businessman Frank Cushnahan, a former member of the bad bank's Northern Ireland advisory committee.

"The NCA officers were undoubtedly interested in Miskelly's account of his meetings with Cushnahan over several years, some of which were taped, and his payment of £40,000 in cash to the former Nama adviser in the car park of Belfast City Hospital in August 2012," Connolly writes.

"The NCA was also keen to know of any other details in Miskelly's possession concerning Cuhnahan and his business and political associates."

The book also notes: "It is understood that Miskelly may have in his possession previously undisclosed and highly sensitive information concerning direct discussions with senior figures of Nama after his distressed bank loans were transferred to it in the wake of the property collapse."

Eight people are under investigation by the NCA in relation to Project Eagle, seven of which have already been interviewed.

Two people were arrested in May last year and interviewed under caution.

The Irish News understands they were former Nama adviser Frank Cushnahan and Ronnie Hanna, a one-time senior executive at Ulster Bank and former head of asset recovery at Nama.

As well as recounting details of the Project Eagle sale and the continuing probe, Nama-land makes a number of incidental revelations, including an alleged effort by Cushnahan to secure British passports for 30 Chinese businesspeople who agreed to invest £1 million each.

Author Frank Connolly works as head of communications for trade union Siptu and contributes to a number of newspaper titles.

His brother Niall was a member of the Colombia Three. Former Tanaiste Michael McDowell alleged in the Dáil that Frank Connolly had also been in Colombia months earlier with his brother – a claim Mr Connolly has repeatedly denied.

:: Frank Connolly will be signing copies of Nama Land tomorrow at Eason's on Donegall Place in Belfast at 1pm. He will also be discussing his book at a public meeting in the Markets Community Centre, Market Street, Belfast at 7pm. The evening event will also include a brief introduction by solicitor Niall Murphy.

Frank Cushnahan with developer John Miskelly and accountant David Gray, covertly filmed by BBC Spotlight

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