Publicity shy Gareth Graham came forward within the last number of days- through his solicitor- and offered to appear before the NI Finance committee probe into the sale of the Northern Ireland NAMA portfolio.
The Irish News revealed on 7 July 2015 that well in excess of thirty hours of tapes exist that would hold the key to exposing the nature of the political deals and backhanders that had run throughout the NAMA deal.
This blog revealed a number of weeks ago that it was Graham’s bookmakers who had recorded the tapes. It can now also be revealed that they are in the possesion of Kevin Winter’s law firm- KWR Law.
Gareth Graham’s family owns Sean Graham’s bookies, of which Frank Cushnahan was the chairman until seven years ago.
Cushanhan had offered his services to the company in return for the use of office space and a percentage of their profits.
From his office in Graham’s headquarters Cushnahan conducted his shady dealings day to day from an office telephone, unaware of course, that as is common practice within bookmakers, all calls were being recorded. These calls included discussions about potential criminal activity and political cash for influence schemes with senior policians and businessmen.
Cushanhan later had his contract terminated by Graham’s, much to his anger.
In June 2012, following the lobbying and input of the then Finance Minister- the DUP’s Sammy Wilson (who shortly after this story broke decided it would be a good time to vanish to Westminister)- NAMA appointed Frank Cushnahan and Brian Rowntree to the NAMA NI Advisory committee.
Only weeks after this dubious appointment, a report by the auditors office raised serious concerns about the Northern Ireland housing excutive which had led to the resignations of messers Rowntree and Cushnahan.
The report found there were serious issues in relation to at least 27 land deals where favoured property developers- such as those who would later benefit from the Cerberus sweetheart deals organised by Peter Robinson- were allowed to purchase land for well under the market value.
Of course once this scam between the DUP’s chosen one- Frank Cushnahan- and Peter Robinson’s circle of property developers was exposed- Cushnahan and Rowntree were given another cushy role in the NAMA NI Advisory Committee, thanks again to their friends in the DUP.
Cushnahan was one of those who attended a meeting at Stormont- along with a senior DUP politicians, believed to be Sammy Wilson and Peter Robinson- with PIMCO and offered them an “arrangement”. The arrangement was not only a substantial fixers fee for Cushnahan but a portion of the fees were also destined for Ian Coulter and Peter Robinson- who would receive his payment through his son Gareth, who runs PR company Verbatim as a front for cash for influence payments. Much of Peter Robinson’s dirty money is hidden in the property market and within off-shore trust funds.
Cushnahan, who later became a ‘fixer’ for the eventual portfolio buyers Cereberus- who are also linked to First Minister Peter Robinson and another senior DUP member- instructed the vulture fund to “hammer” companies linked to Gareth Graham as revenge for Cushnahans forced exit from the bookmakers. Despite being fully up to date with their loan repayments Cerebus refused to accept this and ordered full repayment within 48 hours or else two companies- who were in good financial standing- would be placed into receivership. This is now the subject of court proceedings due to be heard in January 2016.
If Gareth Graham is allowed to tell the full story and quote from the taped recordings on Thursday then it will be a desperately uncomfortable day for some very senior DUP politicians- up to and including the party leader and First Minister Peter Robinson.
The shady world of backhanders, cash for influence payments and white collar crime is inhibited by some very senior political figures and many prominent businessmen. Their house of cards is about to come tunbling down.