Peter Robinson's son 'received £4,000 from Nama probe developer'

Gareth Robinson and former DUP leader Peter Robinson in 2011
Gareth Robinson and former DUP leader Peter Robinson in 2011 Gareth Robinson and former DUP leader Peter Robinson in 2011

THE son of former DUP leader Peter Robinson received up to £4,000 in cash from a property developer involved in the northern Nama deal controversy, a dossier sent to a Dáil committee claims.

The payment to Gareth Robinson emerged in an investigation by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) into the controversial £1.2bn sale of the Northern Ireland property loans portfolio.

According to papers sent to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Gareth Robinson admitted in a police interview he had received between £3,000 and £4,000 in cash from Co Down developer John Miskelly.

Mr Robinson told the police the money – which was given to him by Mr Miskelly's son Owen on the businessman's behalf – was a gift for his newborn son.

The details were included in a dossier sent last week by Mr Miskelly's lawyers to the PAC, according to the Sunday Business Post.

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

An NCA investigation 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 NCA said it has interviewed 66 witnesses and identified nine suspects as part of its long-running probe.

It also said a file relating to some matters has recently been sent to the north's Public Prosecution Service (PPS), and "a further more substantial file will be submitted to the PPS in due course".

Gareth Robinson did not respond to a request for comment from the Sunday Business Post, but he 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.

It is understood Mr Miskelly has grown increasingly frustrated with his relationship with the NCA, coupled with an apparent lack of progress with its three-year Project Eagle investigation.

Last week, it emerged from Mr Miskelly's 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 was initially approached the NCA and offered his co-operation, has accused the agency of harassment and ill treatment.

The Nama debtor made secret recordings of conversations with Frank Cushnahan, former chair of Nama's Northern Ireland advisory panel.

In one recording from 2012, aired by BBC Spotlight, Mr Cushnahan accepts a holdall containing £40,000 cash from Mr Miskelly.

The pair had apparently been introduced by Gareth Robinson.

In another secretly-recorded conversation, Mr Cushnahan said he had paid £5,000 to Gareth Robinson, which Mr Miskelly later told the BBC was payment for PR work.

Mr Cushnahan has denied any wrongdoing.