Peter Robinson rejects Nama 'success fee' claim
PETER ROBINSON has rejected as "outrageous and groundless" an accusation he was to receive a payment linked to the largest ever property sale in the north.
Mr Robinson denounced the claim as he gave evidence to a Stormont committee investigating the controversial £1.2 billion sale of assets owned by National Assets Management Agency (Nama) to US investment firm Cerberus.
At a previous committee evidence hearing, high profile loyalist blogger and flag protester Jamie Bryson alleged the DUP leader was among five people to receive a share of a "success fee" linked to the deal.
In a lengthy opening statement to committee members in Parliament Buildings, Belfast, Mr Robinson said he was "offended" by the allegation but "given its source, not surprised".
He said Mr Bryson had not produced "one shred of evidence" to support his allegation.
"For the record I didn't receive, expect to receive, sought or was offered a single penny as a result of the Nama sale," Mr Robinson said.
At the outset of the hearing, the DUP leader said he welcomed the opportunity to address "issues, misconceptions and inaccuracies" he said had arisen during previous committee hearings.
Nama is the so-called "bad bank" set up by the Republic's Government during the financial crisis to take at-risk loans off the books of bailed out lenders.
The huge deal involving Nama's assets in the north was thrust in to the spotlight in the summer when controversial Independent TD Mick Wallace used parliamentary privilege in the Dail to make allegations of a political pay-off.
He claimed £7 million in an Isle of Man bank account was "reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or political party".
Political watchdogs on both sides of the border are examining the circumstances surrounding the Nama sale while the National Crime Agency (NCA) has also launched a criminal investigation.
All parties involved in the deal have denied wrong-doing.