#NAMA- Revelations of fraud perpetrated against the Irish Tax payer as more evidence is proven true 

 With every passing day, more information that I have released into the public domain is being confirmed as true by the mainstream media outlets.

 
Today it was confirmed, although unrelated to NAMA, that Peter Robinson’s son Gareth was lobbying on behalf of many of the biggest renewable wind energy suppliers. I revealed this, on this blog, in July and drew it to the attention of the DETI committee. This morning Sam McBride from the Belfast Newsletter confirmed that an FOI request had revealed that indeed Gareth Robinson had been a lobbyist for some of the major firms and Mr Jim Allister MLA raised the possibility within the Assembly that some lobbyists had undue influence on DETI policy. Gareth Robinson is a close friend of Patrick McGlugan, a major player in renewable energy firm Gaelectric. I also raised the issue- in my evidence session last week- that Gareth Robinson had an access all areas pass for Stormont. This was initially reported by the Irish News and has never been denied.

 
This morning the Irish News appeared to confirm the existence of a document that proved that David Watters and Andrew Creighton- two of those I named last week at the DFP committee- did indeed stand to benefit from a slice of the £7.5million. Their carefully worded denials missed the point- no one has said they did receive a payment or that they will receive a payment, the issue is that they were earmarked to receive a payment! Their play on words- contrived by a PR company- would fool only the most elementary follower of the Nama scandal.

 
I can today reveal information of a fraud that has been perpetrated on Nama and the Irish tax payer.

 
DTZ McCombe Pierce, based in Belfast, were appointed as the fixed charge receiver- by Nama- over a site at 14 Clanbrassil Road, Cultra in September 2014. DTZ marketed the site and agreed a sale to the highest bidder, supposedly a Mr Tracey, for £2.2 million. When contracts were due to be exchange, the supposed purchaser- Mr Tracey- reduced his bid to £1.7 million.

 
The co-operative Mr Pierce of DTZ then persuaded Nama to accept the lower bid, even though there were other bidders in excess of £1.7 million. The sale was then completed with the Irish tax payer losing out.

 
Mr Tracey was in fact only a ‘front man’ for a scheme hatched by Mr David Watters for his buddy Andrew Creighton, who was the money behind the deal.

 
Currently the house is being developed as a large house, by celebrity architect Mr Des Ewing, who is fully aware of whom his ‘real’ client is. The house is to be occupied by Victoria Creighton, Andrew Creighton’s daughter.

 
It is of note that Mr Watters and his firm are on the Nama Northern Ireland accountancy advisory panel. The numerous conflicts of interest in relation to this, I understand, have not been declared by Mr Watters.

 
On another note Mr Paddy Kearney continues to ‘look after’ his fixers. Having already purchased an £80,000 Mercedes for Alan Mains , he has recently hosted Chris Wilson of Jefferies Loan Core and Donal McCann of Lambert Smith Hampton in a villa in Sotogrande, to show his gratitude for their ‘assistance’.

Initial evidence is proved accurate- and there is much more to come…#NAMA

 Since the public evidence before the Northern Ireland Assembly DFP committee on Wednesday, there has been much made about whether my evidence stood up to robust scrutiny or not.

I am certain that the mainstream media, and their teams of researchers, have been pouring over every word of my evidence with a fine tooth comb in an attempt to identify any holes or inaccurate financial information. As yet, despite more than 48 hours and many news cycles having passed, no one has been able to contradict any of the factual evidence that I provided.

The Irish News today appeared to confirm that indeed the original payment did go into a dormant Danske Bank account. Tughans now bank with Ulster bank. This is one issue I raised with the committee on Wednesday. It has also been verified that indeed Mr Paddy Kearney is set to purchase the Millmount site and further to this it has been proven that my analysis of Mr Kearney’s accounts indeed do accurately reflect what appears to have been a remarkable deal that he was afforded by Cerberus via Jefferies Loan Core. Dominic Bradley, the Deputy Chair of the Northern Ireland DFP committee asked me why Cerberus would just write off so many millions. Perhaps he got his answer in the Dail yesterday when Mick Wallace TD revealed that some of the fixers pay-offs were to be made via refinancing deals.

I also revealed- prior to Wednesday- that Mr Gareth Graham was going to America. This was confirmed late on Thursday evening and reported widely on Friday morning by the mainstream media.

Of course we have had the predictable denials by those named, including a very carefully worded statement by Mr Andrew Creighton. It did of course take more than 24 hours for the statements from Mr Creighton and Mr Watters to appear- presumably as they tried to burn any paper trail before they made their statement. It is worth asking, did either man contact Tughans before issuing their statement? 

Mr Robinson’s predictable statement is nothing more than a fig leaf. As Jim Allister quipped on The View last night “Yes, we heard what he said”. 
 I have repeatedly said- never mind the strongly worded statements and the threats to sue- it’s time to pursue the very clear path through the courts that is open to Mr Robinson and others and issue proceedings against me. This of course really will be a pantomime due to the fact that if one of those named issued proceedings then all the others will find themselves called to be cross-examined, including Mr Alan Mains who will face serious questions over his evidence to the Smithwick tribunal as part of an examination of his character. This of course would centre on the part of my evidence on Wednesday- which went largely unnoticed- whereby I described Mr Mains as not only a former RUC officer- as he told the Smithwick tribunal- but also a former British Intelligence officer. There is a clear distinction.

I can today draw attention to another individual, Mr Toby McMurray, a partner in Tughans. Mr McMurray is currently facing proceedings in the High Court in relation to misrepresentation, defamation, malicious falsehood, negligence and breach of contract. The case is currently before Mr Justice Weatherup and is listed for review on 1 December 2015.

Mr McMurray is also the joint owner of James Wray & Co art gallery, based in James Street South in Belfast City Centre, only a short distance away from the City Hall. This gallery deals in extremely expensive art pieces. This, of course, will appear entirely irrelevant at this point in time; however come Thursday (1 October) it will take on huge significance in the unfolding Nama scandal and how the proposed payments were to be shared amongst the “fixers”.

Response to Peter Robinson’s statement.

I wish to reiterate that I stand over all allegations made before the DFP committee today. 

We have heard unambiguous denials from Peter Robinson before, along with threats to sue. It’s about time he followed through on his threat to sue. If Mr Robinson is so certain my evidence will not stand up to scrutiny then there is a clear path through the courts for Mr Robinson to initiate legal proceedings and prove my allegations as false. 

I attach no weight to the predictable denials by Mr Robinson and furthermore I fully expect an onslaught to discredit me and my evidence. I am confident that when all the smoke has cleared, whenever that may be, that I will be the one who has told the truth. 
Jamie Bryson 

Response to DFP committee- Ref; Public evidence 

Dear Chair
I thank you for your correspondence and invite to attend an evidence session on 23 September 2015. I, of course, firstly wish to confirm my attendance on this date.

 

I followed, with great interest, the debate on 16 September 2015 during the committee about the subject of how evidence would be provided. Therefore my response comes from a position of knowledge of the various positions taken by members of the committee.

 

I must place on record my belief that the proposal brought forward by Judith Cochrane MLA is one which not only damages the integrity, transparency and openness of the committee but furthermore is one which creates a hierarchy of witnesses and ensures that rather than there being equality of witnesses, there will effectively be inequality by virtue of the fact that it appears witnesses will be judged to different thresholds, when it comes to deciding whether to hear evidence in open or closed session.

 

I wish to highlight a number of points and will do so in numerical format, for ease of reference.

 

1. The new ‘criteria’ laid down by Judith Cochrane MLA’s proposal is ambiguous, open ended and sets no clear parameters whereby where the “direct link” threshold starts, and subsequently ends. I believe, to be frank, that this may have been the intention and therefore this effectively provides a catch all political safety mechanism which will essentially allow the committee to force into closed session any witness which they feel may be politically inconvenient. I stress that this approach appears to have been contrived by a number of committee members, and was opposed by others who spoke up for the importance of maintaining the transparency and openness of the democratic proceedings. In absence of any clear threshold, I submit that it falls to the committee to proceed in the normal established way, and that is with a public session.

 

2. I, like Gareth Graham, answered an open call put out by the committee for members of the public to come forward. At this stage neither Judith Cochrane MLA nor the committee raised any concerns or proposals to create a hierarchy of witnesses. These proposals came forward only after particular members of the committee had exhausted every other avenue in their attempts to prevent me giving evidence. Mr Graham was not asked to jump through hoops or set as high a bar as I have been, when it comes to providing his evidence in a public forum. This makes very clear that certain members of the committee wish to judge individuals not upon what evidence they may provide, but rather who they are or how politically inconvenient their evidence may be. This brings the entire committee, and the democratic process, into disrepute and given that the Stormont institutions regularly wax lyrical about the need to ensure all citizens are treated with equality by the democratic process, it is somewhat disappointing that this committee, at the behest of a number of members, would seek to create an inequality in how members of the public are dealt with. My approach and evidence is no different to Mr Graham, and the continuing moving of the goal-posts and the lack of clearly defined criteria within Judith Cochrane MLA’s proposal, ensures that whilst Mr Graham was treated one way, that I- and indeed DFM Martin McGuiness- and any witnesses that may follow us- are treated differently.

 

3. Continued reference has been made by a number of committee members to “prejudicing a court case.” Firstly I point out that there is no criminal court case ongoing to prejudice, and no charges brought, in relation to the sale of Nama Northern Ireland loan portfolio. The only court case is a civil financial dispute about the handling of Gareth Grahams companies. I fail to see how I, in any way, could prejudice this case. Therefore the continued reference to “prejudicing a court case” is simply nothing more than a fig leaf, for some to hide behind. I remind the committee that for example, the DUP and of course the Alliance party went onto Television and regularly spoke in the public domain in relation to Pastor James McConnell’s comments. At this stage his comments were “under police investigation”, yet this did not prevent a full blown public discussion on the matter with the DUP and the Alliance among the most vocal. There was no such concern for prejudicing a possible future criminal trial then. Furthermore, since the charges have actually been brought and there is a live criminal case against Pastor McConnell, the DUP have provided a running commentary. So if we are to follow the logical trajectory of some arguments put forward by some on the committee, particularly the DUP and the Alliance party, then no member of the public can ever speak about any matter which may at some point in the future become criminal proceedings. This of course is even more comical given the fact that the Stormont institutions are on the brink due to discussions around the murder of Kevin McGuigan, which is of course an ongoing police investigation. Many political parties have no issue commenting on the ongoing murder investigation, but seek to hide behind the fig leaf of an “ongoing investigation” to suit their own political agenda in relation to NAMA. To further continue to follow the trajectory of the argument articulated by some on the committee, then if any matter is under police investigation, prior to any charges being brought, then the media should not be allowed to report on any issue at all which is “under police investigation”. This is of course would create the bizarre situation whereby if someone wished to effectively muzzle the public, parliament or gain an injunction via the back door to cover something up- the mere one line “the PSNI are investigating” would do this for them. It should be noted that the PSNI are duty bound to investigate all complaints. What would it do to a ‘free press’ if they were restricted from writing about investigations before a single person has even been arrested? I am sure I do not need to go any further to draw the committees attention to the potential for the minefield of utterly farcical situations that would occur, not to mention the freeze that would be put on democracy, free speech and the free press as we know it, if we were to follow the logical trajectory of the arguments put forward by some committee members. 

 

4. The committee’s proposal allows for “redactions” of any evidence in closed session. How would these redactions work and to what threshold would they be judged? The committee have legal privilege, so to follow the suggestion, within the proposal, the committee would have to ask legal services to redact the transcript on the basis of pretending they do not have privilege and then bring the redacted text before the committee whereby there will be a vote upon whether to release it into the public domain, or how much of it to release. This of course will naturally lead to politicians deciding, via a vote, what is convenient to enter the public domain and what is not. This is about as far removed from transparent democracy as one could possibly imagine. Essentially the committee will be subverting their own privilege and allowing parties which may have a political interest in what goes in to the public domain, and what doesn’t, an opportunity to influence what the public can see. Again, I am quite sure I do not need to expand further for the committee to see the minefield that this creates and how it clearly flies in the face of the transparent democratic process, not least that of a scrutiny committee. It is also wide open to a Judicial review as I am not convinced that the committee have the power to take such a decision to subvert their own privilege.

 

5. This inquiry by the committee was sparked by third-party allegations, made under privilege in a different jurisdiction. There were no concerns about initiating the inquiry on the basis of the genesis of this information, yet when a particular member of the public has answered an open call to provide information and evidence to the committee, all of a sudden there is a great concern around a “direct link”. The public will be able make their own mind up about the clear contradiction in this approach.

 
6. I have primary documentation- to provide examples; documents relating to the Millmount site, which is within the terms of reference due to the DUP lobbying of Nama in relation to this site. I have accounts and statements showing how particular property developers received favourable deals from Cerberus. I have documents that demonstrate a link between those directly involved and others, which in turn shows a clear conflict of interest in relation to the sale of NI Nama loan portfolio. This is all primary documentation that proves I have a direct link to those involved in this nefarious scheme. I have had as much contact with those directly involved in Nama as Gareth Graham and Martin McGuinness. Let’s remember Mr McGuinness’s only contact was a courtesy meeting from which he tweeted a photograph of his attendance, he played no direct role in the deal, therefore if we are to follow the skewed and ambiguous parameters laid out by Judith Cochrane’s proposal, and try to find some kind of balance or clarity within it- however difficult that may be- then I submit that I have, by virtue of primary documents alone, met the criteria every bit as much as Martin McGuinness and furthermore if in some bizarre manner the recently contrived threshold for a public session was to be retrospectively applied to Gareth Graham, then he too would find himself at exactly the same point as myself and Mr McGuinness. I submit that whatever threshold is being applied by the committee, and I must say, with respect, it is about as clear as mud- then it should be applied equally and given that I have demonstrated a primary link to areas within the terms of reference I should be dealt with in exactly the same manner as the Deputy First Minister. The committee cannot shift the goalposts based upon political considerations- I deserve, and I am sure the Deputy First Minister would agree- to be treated equally to him when it comes to how the committee hear my evidence. This of course goes to the core of every man being equal under the law, and equally subject to the law.

 

7. I noted the proposal by Judith Cochrane MLA whereby it was suggested that witnesses could- in confidence- reveal their sources to the committee. I treat this suggestion with total and utter contempt. Even the highest courts in the land have consistently protected whistle-blowers and journalists right to protect their sources. Even in a murder trial connected to the death of two British Soldiers at Masserene, the highest courts in this jurisdiction upheld the right of a journalist to protect their source. The Judge did not for one minute suggest that the journalist- bearing in mind this was a murder investigation of two British soldiers- come to his chambers in confidence and tell them their source. Yet Judith Cochrane MLA proposed that the threshold for appearing in public could be that witnesses reveal their sources to the DFP committee prior to the hearing. Once again this ill-thought out and utterly ridiculous suggestion gives no consideration to the minefield it could open up. Do journalists now have to reveal their sources before Parliamentary inquiries? Should Police officers have to reveal the names of informants, in confidence of course? Is that what Judith Cochrane MLA is proposing? Because that is the logical trajectory of that particular proposal.

 

8. As was highlighted by Mr O’Muilleoir in the September 16 2015 DFP committee meeting, I have consistently released information into the public domain prior to any of the mainstream media outlets or the organisations themselves involved. The information has then been proven to be accurate when followed up by the mainstream media. I remind the committee that I revealed the link to Millmount and the lobbying that was undertaken, the mainstream media confirmed this days after and indeed this very committee followed up on Millmount and discovered that indeed there was were valid questions around that particular site. I revealed the activities of Jefferies loan core and I revealed the refinancing deals of Paddy Kearney, Adam Armstrong and Noel Murphy a full week before it reached the public domain and was confirmed as true by the BBC. This, clearly, demonstrates that either I have a remarkable ability to pluck eerily accurate stories from my imagination or else I have primary knowledge of Nama and the continued activities of Cerberus. With all due respect, I have for a large chunk of this scandal revealed details well in advance of the mainstream media or any other outlet. It is up for the committee to decide whether I have mythical powers or whether indeed the fact I have demonstrated, by my ability to release such accurate information, that I have a direct link with persons intricately involved. 

 

I believe that the above eight points not only demonstrates a primary information link but further to this shines a light on the contradictions, potential minefields and not least the totally oppressive trajectory of the proposal to hold evidence within closed session. One must bear in mind that Jim Wells MLA, on behalf the DUP, had suggested a closed hearing, without any transcript or recording. That this would even be seriously suggested in any civilised democratic society gives a chilling example of the threat to freedom and democracy that exists when politicians are given a free reign to suppress free speech and “bury” information that may not be politically convenient.

 

I must place on record that I have been heartened and mightily impressed by the diligence of yourself in the Chair and your desire to ensure transparency and equality for witnesses, regardless of who they are or what their political affiliations are. You have been ably supported in these attempts to ensure openness and fairness by Leslie Cree, Dominic Bradley and your colleagues from Sinn Fein. I must give credit where it is due.

 

I again reiterate that, as Chair, you will have my full respect and that I will follow your guidance at all times. There will be no wild allegations or straying away from the Terms of reference by me. To do so would only play into the hands of those who wish make my appearance before the committee controversial, in order that they can muddy the waters around my evidence. My evidence will be clear, concise and within the committee’s terms of reference at all times. And as I have already alluded to, I will respect the guidance from the Chair throughout. I will provide an extremely comprehensive presentation of evidence and furnish each of the committee members with supporting documents. 

 

This is a huge test of the DFP scrutiny committee. The information will be placed into the public domain on Wednesday one way or another, so attempts by some on the committee to suppress it or lock it away for a period of weeks or months is utterly fruitless. All a closed session will serve to do is bring the committee, and the democratic political institutions, into disrepute.

 Finally, I wish to inform the committee that I will be releasing this correspondence into the public domain due to the act I have an undertaking to do so at the start of this process. Given the public concerns already raised about the potential to shut down evidence, I wish to ensure my correspondence is as transparent as possible. 

I once again thank those on the committee who voted to hear my evidence and I look forward to appearing on Wednesday and providing information and evidence, in a respectful manner within the terms of reference, on a matter of great public interest. This is a political scandal of epic proportions and to allow politicians- particularly those linked to parties involved in this scandal- a say over how much the public are allowed to hear, would do a great disservice to politics and democracy in general.

 

Kind Regards

 

Jamie Bryson

Reilly suspension due to simmering tensions with ‘defector’ McNarry

The decision by UKIP to suspend Henry Reilly comes on the back of a simmering tension between the man largely credited with building UKIP in Northern Ireland- Mr Reilly- and the ‘defector’ from the UUP- David McNarry. 

It is understood there were a number of internal contentious issues around McNarry and the direction which he was taking UKIP. It is the feeling of some- who remain within UKIP- that David McNarry is using the party primarily to undermine the UUP as part of a personal revenge mission, rather than seeking to promote the policies and vision of the UKIP membership. 

It is worth pointing out that David McNarry has become an outspoken critic of the system of Government in Northern Ireland- which is of course the core architecture of the Belfast Agreement. Mr McNarry was one of David Trimble’s close associates and a key player in developing the Belfast Agreement. He is effectively now an arch critic of the system that he himself helped to design. 

It is also worth pointing that that David McNarry was the UUP Chief of Staff when the EU flag was erected above the UUP Headquarters- yet now- he is a UKIP MLA, the primary opposition to Britain’s membership of the EU. 

It is believed that all these contradictions, coupled with McNarry’s isolating of the regional chair, has led to the situation whereby the face of UKIP within Northern Ireland has been suspended from the party. 

David McNarry continues to have a group of party activists around him- many of whom remain loyal due to the fact they are receiving wages from the Stormont allowance. 

There is great disappointment and dismay being expressed amongst many UKIP supporters within Northern Ireland following the suspension of Henry Reilly. It is undoubtedly a move that will harm the party at the polls. 

DUP & their new found friend given a lesson in democracy by none other than Sinn Fein

16/09/2015
‘DUP and Alliance given a lesson in democracy by Sinn Fein’ 

 

I have watched this morning’s finance committee in disbelief. The attempts by the DUP to hold a secret and hidden evidence session would make Joseph Stalin blush. The proposals by Judith Cochrane of the Alliance party were equally disgraceful, that however comes as little shock or surprise to me.

I find myself in the bizarre situation of witnessing Sinn Fein speaking up for openness, democracy and transparency whilst the DUP and their new found friends in the Alliance party seek to pervert and corrupt openness, transparency and the principles of the democratic institutions. I also note that the DUP could not bring themselves to attend a very serious debate on health yesterday, but ensured they had a full quota for their censorship attempt at this morning’s Finance committee. That, for me, speaks volumes.

I also tweeted during the debate that I would not be acceding to any perverted attempt to supress or hide evidence. I made clear that I would simply subvert these anti-democratic censorship attempts by walking straight out of the meeting and releasing exactly the same information into the public domain. Jim Wells was keen to raise this tweet during the committee debate, once again showing up the desperation seeping from every pore of the DUP!

After Judith Cochrane’s censorship proposal was passed, it was highlighted that due to the fact I have released much information into the public domain prior to anyone else, that it is obvious I have had direct contact with those involved in this nefarious scheme. Judith Cochrane also remarkably requested for witnesses to release the name of their sources to the committee. Once again this gets into ridiculous realms, and it goes without saying that under no circumstances will I reveal any sources.

Judith Cochrane and her new friends in the DUP should hang their heads in shame. They have been given a lesson in democracy, openness and transparency by none other than Sinn Fein. The only Unionist to save the blushes of all of Unionism was Leslie Cree who also spoke up for democracy amidst one of the most remarkable attempts to supress it, that one is ever likely to see.

Jamie Bryson 

Farry’s Financial Fiasco – DEL incompetence leaves black-hole in public purse 

 Today the shocking level of corruption and incompetence that runs through the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) can be exposed. Whilst the Alliance party wax lyrical about the failings of other departments, it has now become clear that shocking levels of incompetence has left the Northern Ireland public purse with a multi-million pound black hole- all thanks to the mismanagement of European money by DEL officials, acting under the authority of Minister Stephen Farry.
 

Among those from within the community and voluntary sector, who are suffering as a result of DEL’s internal failings, is the Disability sector- who on June 10 2015 was owed a whopping £12m, as attached, leaked letter shows.

   
   

 
DEL is an effective “letterbox” for receiving European Social Fund money- which is designed to improve employability and within NI is targeted at those furthest removed from employment opportunities. This community and voluntary sector EU money is known as “priority one” funding.

 
Due to repeated failings in departmental audits- the EU suspended payments to DEL on three occasions. After the third temporary suspension it is understood that the EU have said they will not consider any further claims under priority one funding.

 
At the DEL committee on July 1 2015 when questioned by Pat Ramsey, an SDLP MLA, on whether the failings that led to these temporary suspensions, lay solely within the department, Minister Farry confirmed that this was indeed the case.

 
Due to these suspensions small community and voluntary sector organisations were pushed to the point of bankruptcy and this had a knock-on effect to small businesses and self-employed facilitators who were left waiting on payments that were long overdue.

 
Whilst the community and voluntary sector were pushed to the brink, DEL halted any payments owed whilst they re-trained their existing staff- at huge cost. During this period a multi-million pound black hole developed, all due to internal DEL staff failings, and Minister Farry could offer no solutions to fulfil the department’s contractual obligations to many of the small community and voluntary sector organisations who were being made to suffer, as a result of the horrific internal mistakes made by DEL staff.

 
In Farry’s attempts to cover-up the epic failings within DEL, he decided to move the community and voluntary EU money into the DEL public budget. However, it is understood Mr Farry carried out this contrived move without seeking the necessary approval from the Minister of the Department of Finance, “gatekeeper” Arlene Foster.
 

At this point in time DEL are still suspended from Europe, therefore the money “flipped” from the public budget into the EU budget- in a underhand attempt to fill the black hole DEL’s errors had created- may never be eligible for repayment from the EU and thus a massive multi-million pound hole will emerge in the public purse.

 
As the general public feel the nip of the merry-go round of the Stormont farce and austerity, DEL have decided to increase their staff management unit from ten to a whopping thirty-five. SEUPB- who manage European money for both Northern Ireland the Republic- have only a fraction more than this amount of staff.
 

Whilst Stephen Farry trotted off to Europe to meet the commissioners and attempt to explain the monumental errors emanating from within his department, he sought an extension for his technical assistance funding- which in reality is the staff wages for the same staff who caused these errors- and also his funding for DEL’s own programmes. The Minister gave no consideration to asking for an extension for the community and voluntary sector that have been left high and dry by the internal failings of DEL.

 
There are serious questions also to be answered around why DEL now effectively have “double funding” for technical assistance, as they are now operating two parallel European Social Fund programs with the only beneficiary being DEL.

 
If you think these epic failings are bad, they will dwarf in comparison to upcoming blogs that will reveal systematic corruption and preferential treatment of certain community and voluntary groups.

The truth about the DUP “gatekeeper” plan 

The sham of the latest DUP announcement is as transparent as it is duplicitous. 

The DUP have said they have left Arlene Foster in post as a ‘gatekeeper’ to stop any others making bad decisions in the coming days. They have also made her acting First Minister for the same reason. 

Let’s look at the out workings of that. The resignations of all ministerial posts take seven days to come into effect- therefore the DUP could simply have re-nominated after seven days and kept the ball rolling. The Executive won’t meet and departments are autonomous, so no one could have made any decisions on issues pertaining to departments where ministers have resigned. Finance would simply have been handled by Civil Servants over the next seven days. So the DUP notion of having to leave a gatekeeper, is a blatant lie. 

If the stated aim was simply to hold the fort, then what was the purpose of Peter Robinson “stepping aside”? It makes not a blind bit of difference whether it was he or Arlene Foster who was First Minister. Had Peter Robinson resigned then Martin McGuiness would have been booted out office and an election process would have autmatically been kick started. 

The truth is that the DUP haven’t a clue what they are doing. Peter Robinson had already agreed to leave before the end of September so he has also used this situation to accelerate that process. 

In the meantime Arlene Foster has been left in Finance for one reason only, and that is quite simply to prevent any civil servants releasing any NAMA information to the Finance Committee inquiry over the next seven days. 

The Fermanagh MLA will also become acting First Minister so as to ease Peter Robinson out the back door but by the same token Robinson will avoid resigning, for the time being, because the DUP are petrified of an election. 

The strategic move yesterday by the DUP was, as I have said, a three strand approach. Ease Peter Robinson out, avoid an election and protect the party from the release of papers pertaining to NAMA. 

The issue for the DUP is that they have only bought themselves time, seven days to be precise, as it stands. The issues haven’t gone away. 

They may be able to lock the locks of the Finance Department, but they can’t stop the clock. 

They may be able to stall an election, but eventually it will come. And the DUP can’t bear to face the electorate as a weak party in the face of IRA murder. So it’s likely it will have to come sooner rather than later. 

The DUP are in serious trouble. Robinson’s last throw of the dice was pragmatic and ruthless. But it is simply a stop gap. 

DUP & some others on the Finance Committee want to treat the public like mushrooms

I have watched with interest and a great deal of amusement as some members of the Finance Committee- particulary the DUP- went to tremendous lengths to try and ensure my evidence before the committee would be in a closed session. 

Given the obvious desperation of the DUP to shut me out from the committee, I am sure many people are wondering why they are going to such outrageous lengths to try and ensure that the public cannot hear my evidence. 

I am no different than Gareth Graham or any of the other witnesses who have given evidence in public and I will not play the DUP game of allowing my appearance before the committee to become controversialised or for there to be a heirachy of public witnesses.

 That is, of course, the DUP strategy- they will want to create a pantomime around me so as whatever information I can provide will be discredited. 

I am wise to the transparent tactics of the DUP- and others on the committee falling in behind them- and I am somewhat offended that the DUP, who have been out-manoeuvred by Mike Nesbitt, would think that I would walk into such an elementary trap. 

The DUP want to push for a closed session because they think I will object to that, because in their minds I desire the “oxygen of publicity” and therefore they hope I will become frustrated and simply refuse to appear in closed session. 

This is not about publicity- contrary to the myth that the DUP will try and create- so if the committee decide to hear my evidence in closed session, I will challenge this through all avenues open to me-and if I am unsucessful in doing so then I will quite happily provide my evidence in closed session. 

My desire is that those involved in this nefarious, criminal and utterly corrupt scandal will be exposed before the general public and unable to bury their crimes behind “closed sessions” or “ongoing investigations”. 

If the Finance committee wish to treat the public as mushrooms in relation to my evidence then, quite simply, I will bypass the public censorship they are trying to put in place. 

I will give my evidence to the committee in closed session and walk straight out of the meeting and read the exact same opening statement and evidence that I provided to the committee and publish that particular video on my own You Tube channel so that anyone who is interested can watch the evidence over and over again as often as they wish. 

The only thing that will be missing will be the squirming of the DUP committee members. 

Further to this my book revealing all the sordid details behind this nefarious scheme is almost ready for publication. That- unfortunately for the DUP- is outside the remit of the Finance Committee. 

NCA seize documents from Tughans- including those naming the beneficiaries of the ‘off-shore account’ #NAMA

 Today it can be exclusively revealed that the National Crime Agency (NCA) attended Tughans solicitors- by mutual agreement- last weekend (September 5/6) and siezed files and documents. 



It is understood that the agency were there to retrieve all documents related to correspondence between Tughans and Pimco and the later files and information related to Cerberus.

Some of the information seized includes emails between Ian Coulter and two individuals who were to benefit from a slice of the £7.5 million transferred into an off-shore account. 

For the first time these individuals can be named as property developer Andrew Creigton and Chartered accountant David Watters. Both of these individuals were set to receive a substantial kick-back from the off-shore account. As has previously been revealed Frank Cushnahan, Peter Robinson and Ian Coulter were also to benefit. It is understood Peter Robinson has a number of off-shore accounts which he uses for his own personal property and financial deals. 

This was a complex part of the investigation and a number of discussions had taken place between Tughans and the NCA in relation to which files could be opened up. Due to client privilege, Tughans had to take advice from the Law Society and a number of QC’s in regards to what information they turned over to the NCA. It is understood that a number of Tughans clients are concerned about this development, as private and confidential documents could be vulnerable.

This latest development within the criminal investigation comes as the United States Department of Justice issued a subpoena to Cerberus, requesting the hand-over of all documents relating to the purchase of the Northern Ireland Nama portfolio. The move by the Department of Justice adds a transatlantic dimension to the investigations.

There is every possibility that the US DOJ could request the extradition of those involved with this deal. In 2006 three British Businessmen were extradited to America and sent to prison for conspiring with former Enron staff to defraud Natwest bank. The extraditions were carried out under UK extradition laws which had been introduced by the Labour Government. Counsel acting for the businessmen, Alun Jones QC said that his clients had all contacted the UK Authorities and there was no charges being brought within the United Kingdom. Outside the court during a hearing in Bow Street Magistrates Court, London, one of the defendents- David Bermingham said “one phone call to the UK is all that was needed” for the case to be taken up by the British authorities and tried within the UK rather than in America. All three businessmen were jailed in the United States.

In February 2012 a retired British businessman, Christopher Tappin, was extradited from the UK to face trial in the US for selling batteries for Iranian surface-to-air missiles. He pleaded guilty in November 2012 and was sentenced in January 2013. The British citizen was sentenced to 33 months imprisonment.

The above cases show that the US Department of Justice have the power and indeed the will to extradite British citizens to the US to face criminal charges. If it is found that the Cerberus purchase of the Northern Ireland Nama loan portfolio was unlawful under US law then all those involved face the very real possibility of extradition to the United States to face trial.

It can also be revealed that one of those at the centre of the scandal, Ian Coulter, has now been made a director in Lagan’s. Coulter is on the premises on a regular basis and it is thought this surprising elevation to a company director was a “thank you” to Coulter for his part in the Cerberus deal which has saw Lagan’s benefit from sweetheart refinancing deals. In similar fashion, Maple ten developer Paddy Kearney expressed his thanks to “fixer” Alan Mains by purchasing an £80,000 Mercedes for him.

In this remarkable story, described in the Irish News last week as “the biggest political and financial scandal in living history” more unravels by the day. There is such a gravity and volume of information that many of the smoking guns have been buried, inadvertently, under a tide of corruption.