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TDs to hand back developer's dossier on NI Nama scandal

Nama, the Republic's state assets agency, sold its Northern Ireland portfolio to US investment fund Cerberus in 2014
Brendan Hughes

A DÁIL committee has agreed to hand back a dossier on the northern Nama deal sent to TDs by a Co Down property developer involved in the controversy.

John Miskelly's lawyers last week sent the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) documentation revealing fresh claims about the £1.2bn sale of the Northern Ireland property loans portfolio.

Among the papers it was alleged that Gareth Robinson, the son of former DUP leader Peter Robinson, received up to £4,000 in cash from Mr Miskelly.

TDs decided that rather than scheduling a public hearing, the documentation should be dealt with by a separate inquiry already set up to examine the Project Eagle sale.

It is understood the Commission of Investigation is asking Mr Miskelly for a written statement.

Nama, the Republic's state assets agency, sold its Northern Ireland portfolio to US investment fund Cerberus in 2014.

An investigation by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) was launched in 2015 after a TD alleged in the Dáil that a £7m offshore fund linked to the deal was earmarked for a northern politician or party.

The payment to Gareth Robinson emerged as part of this probe.

According to papers, he admitted in a police interview he received the cash from Mr Miskelly's son Owen on the businessman's behalf.

He told the police the money – which was given to him before Christmas 2012 in Burger King at Forestside Shopping Centre in south Belfast – was a gift for his newborn son.

Gareth Robinson has previously denied any involvement in Project Eagle.

Mr Miskelly, from Ballynahinch, had several of his business loans taken over by Cerberus when it bought Nama's northern portfolio in 2014.

Last week, it emerged from Mr Miskelly's leaked PAC dossier that he had lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman over his arrest by the NCA last year.

Mr Miskelly, who says he initially approached the NCA and offered his co-operation, has accused the agency of harassment and ill treatment.

A committee spokeswoman said: "The PAC has decided that the matters raised in the dossier can be dealt with by the Commission of Investigation which is investigating the sale of Nama's NI loan book."

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