Northern Ireland news

Developer's dossier includes further Nama revelations

Co Down property developer John Miskelly made secret recordings of conversations with Frank Cushnahan and accountant David Gray, covertly filmed by BBC Spotlight

Documents given to the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are understood to contain further revelations relating to the scandal surrounding Nama's Northern Ireland debt portfolio.

Co Down developer and former bad bank debtor John Miskelly recently furnished the committee with an extensive dossier of documents and transcripts centring on the controversial 2014 sale of Project Eagle.

Mr Miskelly's fresh evidence also outlines his reasons for lodging a complaint with the Police Ombudsman over his arrest by the National Crime Agency (NCA) last year.

The 55-year-old, who is being treated for a serious illness, was arrested at Belfast International Airport in August 2017.

He accuses the NCA of harassment and ill treatment. The agency, which searched Mr Miskelly's Ballynahinch home after his arrest, said it does not comment on specific cases that are subject to ongoing proceedings.

Mr Miskelly, who says he initially approached the NCA and offered his co-operation, made secret recordings of conversations with Nama's former Northern Ireland advisory panel chairman Frank Cushnahan.

In one recording, later aired by BBC Spotlight, Mr Cushnahan accepts a holdall containing £40,000 cash from the Co Down property developer.

The pair had apparently been introduced by Gareth Robinson, the son of former first minister Peter Robinson.

In a different 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.

The documents given to the PAC are understood to contain more information about the former DUP leader's son, who runs a PR and public relations firm called Verbatim Communications.

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 investigation into Nama's disposal of Project Eagle.

Alongside his complaint to the ombudsman, he has launched civil proceedings against the NCA alleging unlawful arrest.

A spokeswoman for the PAC said the documentation submitted by Mr Miskelly was "being reviewed".

"As such, no decision has been made yet as to what action may be taken regarding the documentation," she said.

Sinn Féin TD and PAC member David Cullinane said he had written to the committee clerk asking that Mr Miskelly's dossier is discussed at its next meeting.

He said the information raised "serious issues" relating to Nama, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, Anglo Irish Bank and the sale of Project Eagle.

"This is a significant development and the PAC needs to decide what it intends to do with this evidence," he said.

"The details of those transcripts are extremely worrying from a public interest perspective."

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