Northern Ireland news

Frank Cushnahan: Nama ‘has reported ex-adviser to police'

Businessman Frank Cushnahan

NAMA has reported its former Northern Ireland adviser Frank Cushnahan to gardaí and the National Crime Agency (NCA) alleging possible corruption.

The businessman, who served on Nama's NI advisory committee from 2010 to 2013, was reported following allegations he took £40,000 in cash from Co Down property developer and Nama client, John Miskelly.

The Sunday Times reported that a Nama official wrote to gardaí citing the Republic's Criminal Justice Act which obliges public bodies to inform police when they may be able to help in securing a prosecution.

BBC's Spotlight programme broadcast an audio recording last week, made by Mr Miskelly in 2012, in which Mr Cushnahan was heard being given the £40,000.

In the tapes, Mr Cushnahan told the developer he was going to help him escape Nama and regain control of his properties - a breach of Irish law.

The programme alleged Mr Miskelly gave Mr Cushnahan €10,000 in early 2013 during a meeting in the lobby of Tughans law firm in Belfast, where the businessman had an office.

Mr Cushnahan also claimed he was "thick as thieves" with former senior Nama official, Ronnie Hanna, and suggested Mr Hanna would give him confidential Nama information.

The NCA has been investigating the £1.25 billion sale of Nama's northern portfolio to US fund Cerberus for many months.

Mr Hanna has always denied he had any improper dealings with Mr Cushnahan.

Nama: Full coverage

Mr Cushnahan told Spotlight he could not comment on allegations made in the programme due to the NCA investigation.

Mr Miskelly has said "payments made by me to any persons have been lawful".

The Irish News revealed in June that Mr Cushnahan and Mr Hanna were arrested by the NCA the previous month and later released on bail pending further inquiries.

The Irish Times has separately reported that the Republic's spending watchdog has found the sale of Nama's northern loan book to Cerberus in 2014 had "irregularities" and "shortcomings".

A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General into the sale is due to be published this week, thought to be either Wednesday or Thursday.

The paper reported the findings will say that failings in the sales process could have cost Nama "hundred of millions of euro".

The latest twist in the Nama scandal has led to calls for a criminal cross-border probe into allegations of corruption in the northern loan book sale.

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