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Nama: Transcript of messages exchanged between Jamie Bryson and Thomas O'Hara ahead of Stormont hearing

Sinn Féin's Daithi McKay (centre) with Thomas O'Hara (far right), after being elected as North Antrim MLA in May. Picture by Cliff Donaldson
Compiled by Amanda Ferguson and John Monaghan

Read the messages exchanged between Jamie Bryson, Thomas O'Hara and Jamie Bryson in advance of the loyalist's appearance in front of the Stormont finance committee's Nama hearing.

Full Nama Coverage

September 2 2015

Jamie Bryson (JB): What time does DFP committee go into public session tomorrow? And can public sit in? (11.12am)

Daithi McKay (DMK): Due at 11am though it may start earlier or later than that. Taking legal advice at 10am, all depends on how long committee want to discuss it. You should be there for 10.30 in case it runs ahead of time (12.17pm)

JB: No problem looking forward to it:) (12.18pm)

DMK: Yes public can sit in if Graham is giving evidence (12.19pm)

JB: I wouldn't be surprised if DUP pull a rabbit out of hat to try and shut it down (12.20pm)

 

September 3 2015

JB: Will committee be sending me a letter/email with a date m8? (4.17pm)

 

September 4 2015

DMK: Clerk will be looking to get date in diary. Won't be next week, probably 2-3 weeks time. Will tie down next week (9.30pm)

JB: Nps thanks look forward to it. All evidence will be respectful and within TOR and guidelines (9.38pm)

 

September 7 2015

JB: Can DUP effectively shut down the Nama inquiry if they choose in coming weeks? (1.02pm)

DMK: Only if assembly falls. Committee continues to work as long as it has quorum of five members (1.03pm)

JB: Ok. Clerk emailed me there looking availability. I have responded. Free any time. Sooner the better before they try get off the hook (1.05pm)

 

September 9 2015

JB: Will the vote on whether evidence is open or closed hold up agreeing a date for my appearance? (11.11am)

 

September 10 2015

JB: This is all about Nama. It was all contrived to give DUP a way out and I know that for a fact. Nama is so big that it would have ended the DUP (4.21pm)
 

September 16 2015

JB: Am I to attend next Wednesday? (7.11pm)

DMcK: Yes. It was agreed to write to you asking you to demonstrate your direct link with any of parties referred to in the Terms of Reference. Responses received will be considered by committee at start of next week's meeting. And if a direct link is shown and agreed by committee members you will be invited in in open session (7.17pm)

JB: And if not? Will I still be asked in to give closed evidence? Ps big respect for your fairness and attempts to ensure transparency! (7.19pm)

DMK: Thanks! You'll be asked in to speak in closed session otherwise and a transcript will be done by committee staff (7.21pm)

JB: That will be a bit pointless for the DUP when I am going to walk out and publish every word anyway. DUP running scared along with their new found Alliance friends. Thanks again!
 

September 17 2015

DMK: Just to point out that if you speak in private session transcript will be agreed within weeks and published with privilege. Public session better in my view as I said yesterday but private would still see some if not all material being released to public (11.47am)

JB: I know mate, I am only winding the DUP up. They are fools, the more they try and suppress it the more suspicion it raises. I intend to highlight a number of contentious issues in my opening statement that I have information about and ask for your guidance upon whether to reveal it before committee. My evidence will all be very professional and respectful, the DUP want to make it about (REST OF MESSAGE CUT OFF) (12.05pm)

DMK: What should tick the box for the committee for public session in terms of your response, and I will be saying this to other witnesses, is:

- a direct link you have with anyone in Nama, DFP or advisory committee re this issue.

- primary material, documents related to Nama, DFP or advisory committee and other issues such as Millmount that are within DFP minutes. A document could also be seen as a direct link (12.14pm)

JB: I have a box of documents relating to Millmount. I can provide documents but I can't reveal my source. I do have direct links with people

DMK: That should be one of your points in your reply. That you have primary documents relating to Millmount which was part of the Nama portfolio and discussed specifically between Nama and Minister Wilson. Source not relevant (in my view) if you have the documents (12.20pm)

JB: There will also be all the financial accounts etc and showing how Cerberus favoured certain property developers (12.22pm)

DMK: So you have: primary evidence of accounts relating to the sale of the Nama property loan portfolio (12.28pm)

JB: Yes I have accounts relating to companies and their refinancing of their Cerberus loans (12.43pm)

DMK: Follow @thomasgohara (1.03pm)

JB: Done (1.06pm)

Full Nama Coverage

Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson watches the Martin McGuinness give evidence to Stormonts's Nama enqiry in the Great Hall in Sormont before going to give evidence himself Picture Mal McCann.

EXCHANGES BETWEEN JAMIE BRYSON AND THOMAS O'HARE

September 18 2015

Thomas O'Hara (TOH): The behaviour of Cerberus after the sale isn't strictly in terms of reference. Would be better if you worded it that the accounts relate to the sale of the Nama portfolio.

Don't mention the 7.5million and who stood to benefit. This is too close to the nca investigation and dup will use it as excuse to go into private session. Talk about it after we get you into public session.

Also, state that you have information relating to Fortress who were the failed bidder. Directly relevant to the sale.

Keep letter simple, dup may try and hang you on some of the details.

Send me a draft of the letter you are sending and I will suggest changes. Keen to get you in public session. (12.19pm)

TOH: Re: your presentation to finance committee.

If I were you I'd kick off with Millmount. Start by framing it within terms of reference. Ie Sammy Wilson raised it with nama in meetings when he was finance minister then that will give you justification to run through all your info on that including Kearney and Gareth Robinson and lagans. The Fortress. State that the committee have wrote to fortress looking for information and have received nothing back. I can help the committee in regard to this. Then elaborate on that.

Then the Jeffries loancore is where we start to go sort of outside terms of reference so needs to be pitched right. If you can start that with the documents you have that would be good. Then say this falls within bullet point 3 of the committee terms of reference: 'matters relating to the sale of the nama property loan portfolio in northern ireland'. Then speak on that one including alan mains etc. you mat get pulled though.

The tricky one is the £7.5million as it is what the nca is looking at.

Leave this to the very end. You may only get 10-15 seconds on this before Daithi as chair has to pull you on it so squeeze your best points on this into 1-2 lines and come straight to the point. (8.22pm)

JB: Is there an email I could send draft of opening statement to? What's your view of my correspondence? Enough to get it public? (8.28pm)

TOH: (Email) The reference to documentation and Millmount should get you over the line. You are spot on re judith Cochrane in your letter but remember do not go for them when you're at committee. Dup want it to be a shouting match and then they could get meeting postponed. Play it cool and keep it factual (8.36pm)

JB: I know DUP's game they want to bait me into saying something ridiculous or losing my cool to justify turning it into a farce. I trust if I am good to my word and professional and respectful that daithi will (END OF MESSAGE MISSING) (8.42pm)

TOH: It is my view that Daithí wants as much out as possible. If you play this right you will get most of your material out and will be better than grahams testimony. Fact you have documents adds a lot of credibility. Remember documents submitted have privilege too. (8.45pm)

JB: When he steps in, I will respectfully pull back, apologise and move on. Just don't want kicked out. We need to get Robinson's name out under privilege so media can report. It's 100% him.

Let me know thoughts on opening statement, just sent (8.53pm)

TOH: It's good stuff. I suggest you restructure your approach. Don't give the committee an outline of what you're going to tell them. You could reframe some of those points, the political message for the closing statement.

The first few paragraphs are fine. But when you start on Millmount tell them everything on Millmount before moving to next chapter.

If you say at the start you're going to mention Millmount and Robinson later it gives dup time to think.

You have a lot of time for your opening statement so give it all and don't give them a preview (8.59pm)

JB: Right ok I will just provide all evidence within my opening statement - take me around 25/30 mins and then at the end I will hand out the documents. Need to contrive how to get around to Robinson at the final pitch of my opening statement (10.03pm)

TOH: Keep it short if you can, when it's said it's said and it's privileged. Will be a great finisher. (10.59pm)

JB: Yeh it will have to be one line that is out before DUP can't jump in. Can anyone besides daithi shut it down? (11.35pm)

Full Nama Coverage

September 19 2015

TOH: Daithi only one that can hit the button or tell clerk to hit the button. But if it gets to the point that majority of members are pushing him for it he may have to. You have to ensure that it doesn't get to that point. If I were you I'd avoid entirely having a direct go at the alliance and dup in the committee in your opening statement. That will make it much harder for them to put pressure on the chair. Have a go at them when it gets to q and a and when the damage is already done!

A wee suggetion for your closing paragraph. When talking about Robinson refer to him as 'Person A'. So say all you have to say about him referring to him as Person A. Then in your final line say: Person A is Peter Robinson MLA.

Means that the committee cannot interrupt you and means that you don't have to say robbos name until the very last second.

So then it's job done! (3.43pm)

JB: But will I get leeway to described how the money was to be divided up using person A etc and then just close with 'the former first minister Peter Robinson' lol :) (4.03pm)

 

September 20 2015

JB: Emailing you a paragraph draft for the closing around how to frame Robinson. Let me know your view. (1.08pm)

TOH: (Suggested slight amend. Gives more of an impression you're not going into names) This "success fee" to be shared between a number of persons WHO I WILL REFER TO as "person A", Person B, Person C and Person D.... Person A is Peter Robinson MLA.... (1.43pm)

Jamie Bryson: Will do. Is the framing of it ok to avoid being shut down? The area of the account it was paid into is a vital piece of info but if... (MESSAGE CUT OFF AND THEN DOCUMENT POSTED)

Final paragraph - though Cushnahans office in Tughans was "self contained". (2.48pm)

TOH: If that is what you're saying in its entirety you could just about get away with it. If there's more to add in there'd be more pressure on Daithi to pull you up. (7.12pm)

TOH: Mentioning tughans would be a no no, but by the time you get those cupla lines out about tughans and moved on to the success fee you can be pulled then about mentioning tughans as you're not going to mention them after that point from what I see here. (8.29pm)

Full Nama Coverage

September 21 2015

JB: Need SF to publicly come out in support of public sessions tomorrow. Will put pressure on DUP within unionist community when it's seen that I am in agreement with SF - that will make unionists ask questions about what the DUP are hiding (11.43pm)

TOH: Texted Daithi there, he says they will be putting a statement out ahead of the meeting tomorrow sometime. Hold the documents back for now, depending on how he interprets them it could put the frighteners on mccallister. Best to get a read of him first. (11.54pm)

JB: Yeh. We will keep in touch and see how we can play it out. II be there from 10am on Wed. If it goes into closed session it might backfire on them because there will then be a lot of publicity around what they are trying to cover up. Honestly, this evidence document is the biggest scandal that will ever have rocked a committee - we just need get over the final hurdle to get it into public domain. (11.57pm)

Full Nama Coverage

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