Northern Ireland news

Mick Wallace to give evidence in Jamie Bryson Nama trail

Mick Wallace sparked a political storm in 2015 when he claimed that £7m in an offshore bank account was destined for a Northern Ireland political party or politician.

An outspoken southern politician who made the first revelations in the Nama property scandal is to appear in court in Belfast as a defence witness for loyalist Jamie Bryson.

Flamboyant MEP, Mick Wallace said the revelations made by Bryson to a Stormont committee in 2015 were "in the public interest".

Adding that he had "no problem" appearing in court as a defence witness in the case of allegedly conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.

Bryson, who is representing himself, is being prosecuted alongside former Sinn Féin MLA Daithi McKay and party member Thomas O’Hara.

The charges relate to the loyalist's 2015 appearance before a Stormont committee, chaired by McKay, which was investigating the sale of Nama's Northern Ireland assets to a US investment fund.

Mick Wallace, now an MEP, with loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson on TV3 programme Tonight with Vincent Browne in 2015 at the height of the Nama scandal.

In 2015, both men claimed a £7 million offshore fund linked to the Nama deal was earmarked for a northern politician or party.

Read More: Jamie Bryson wore a Union flag tie to court and was accompanied by loyalist supporters

Wallace, who at the time was a Wexford TD, made the claims under Dail privilege, leading to a criminal investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA). A file on the allegations is currently with the PPS.

The Dail heard a claim that £45m in "fixer fees" had been paid in relation to the Northern Ireland Nama property deal.

At a previous court hearing, Mr Bryson, from Rosepark, Donaghadee, told judge Fiona Bagnall that he wanted several witnesses called for the committal hearing.

"I've plenty to say about Nama and how the exposing of that was in the public interest and I've no problem testifying to that in court," Mr Wallace told the Irish News.

"Nama was a total disaster and cost the Irish state billions and so exposure of that was certainly in the public interest.

"I'm in London for the next few days supporting Julian Assange who is jail and on trial for simply telling the truth about powerful forces and the actions of the US military.

"This is similar in many ways, and I would have absolutely no bother saying that."

Three days starting on March 30 have been set aside at Belfast's Laganside court for a preliminary investigation into the case.

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