Northern Ireland news

Nama: Who are John Miskelly and David Gray?

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

THE latest Nama revelations have pushed two more names from the north's business elite into the limelight.

Covert footage recorded by BBC Spotlight showed businessman Frank Cushnahan chatting with John Miskelly and David Gray about the sale of Nama's northern portfolio.

During the meeting last year at Belfast's Malmaison hotel, former Nama adviser Mr Cushnahan claimed he was due to be paid a 'fixer's fee' over the £1bn property loans deal.

John Miskelly is a high-profile developer from Ballynahinch in Co Down, who once had a property empire across the Britain and Ireland thought to be worth more than £68 million.

The 52-year-old came to public prominence in 2006 when he considered mounting a bid to buy Liverpool Football Club.

Mr Miskelly had several of his business loans taken over by Cerberus when it bought the Northern Ireland portfolio from Nama in 2014.

Among his former properties is Ten Square Hotel in Belfast city centre, which was among a series of buildings taken over by businessman Paddy Kearney.

In the BBC recording Mr Miskelly, who feared being shut down by the Nama sale, told of a phone call with Gareth Robinson, son of former First Minister Peter Robinson, who advised him to contact Mr Cushnahan.

Meanwhile, Belfast man David Gray (61) is a partner in prominent city accountancy firm RSM McClure Watters – one of the largest accountancy firms in Northern Ireland.

In 2014 he was appointed as a non-executive independent board member for the Department for Regional Development (DRD).

He is also a non-executive member of the audit and risk committee for the PSNI, according to the DRD's website.

The associate member of the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors is described as a having "wide experience in audit and assurance work" and has served on a range of public sector audit committees.

Another partner in McClure Watters is accountant David Watters.

He was accused by loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson at Stormont's Nama inquiry of being among five men set to share in a "success fee" linked to the northern Nama deal.

The others accused were ex-DUP leader Mr Robinson, Mr Cushnahan, former Tughans solicitor Ian Coulter and developer Andrew Creighton. All five have dismissed allegations and strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Last year The Irish News revealed a draft letter in which Mr Watters 'laid claim' to a payment made to Tughans worth around £7m, which is at the centre of the Nama deal controversy.

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