Northern Ireland

Latest hearing in long-running Nama fraud case schedule for next month

Frank Cushnahan and Ian Coulter
Frank Cushnahan and Ian Coulter

The latest hearing in the long-running effort to bring a fraud case involving prominent businessman Frank Cushnahan to trial has been scheduled for next month.

The former member of Nama's northern advisory board member and struck-off solicitor Ian Coulter are facing charges linked to the £1.2 billion sale of 'Project Eagle', Ulster Bank's former property loanbook.

Mr Cushnahan (81) of Alexandra Gate in Holywood, Co Down and Mr Coulter (49) of Osborne Park, Belfast, are jointly charged with one count of fraud involving a false representation made on or around April 3 2014.

Mr Cushnahan also faces one charge of fraud by failing to disclose information, while Mr Coulter, a former managing partner of Belfast law firm Tughans, is facing four other charges, including two counts of fraud by false representation, making or supplying articles used in fraud, removing criminal property and transfer of criminal property.

The charges relate to National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation begun in 2015.

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Accountant who first conceived Nama's Project Eagle sale fined £75,000 for failed oversight

At the last hearing in May, the case was adjourned after solicitors argued that their case was not ready.

The next hearing has been scheduled for the Crown Court in Belfast on September 22.

News of the hearing comes as it emerged that the property developer whose secret recordings triggered the NCA probe has been disqualified as a director.

John Miskelly (60) and his wife Helen (56) both of Crabtree Road, Ballynahinch, Co Down were issued with a four-year boardroom ban in April in relation to their hotel business Yorkshire House Limited .

The company traded as Ten Square Hotel from premises at 10 Donegall Square South, Belfast and went into administration in January 2015 with debts of £129,000. 

The pair were disqualified following unfit conduct, including failure to adequately address the affairs of the company and failure to file accounts.

In December last year, the couple's legal bid to have more than £100m in bank loans declared void was described by a  High Court judge as “uncontestably bad”.

Madam Justice McBride struck out all grounds advanced by the Miskellys in their case against Bank of Ireland.

Mr Miskelly's secret recordings of conversations relating to properties that came under the control of Nama were broadcast by BBC Spotlight in 2016.