Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Kirk McCambley still owes me £5,000, says developer

Kirk McCambley
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Peter Robinson

Iris Robinson’s teenage lover is still £5,000 in debt to one of the property developers at the heart of the MP’s financial scandal, he said last night.

Ken Campbell — one of two builders who bankrolled Mrs Robinson’s 19-year-old lover Kirk McCambley to open a riverside cafe in Belfast — has spoken out about the loan for the first time to clarify the circumstances in which it was made.

He and the late Fred Fraser have found their names at the centre of the crisis engulfing the Strangford MP and her husband Peter since it emerged each man gave Mr McCambley £25,000 to start up the Lock Keeper’s Inn on the banks of the River Lagan.

They handed over the cash in response to a request from Mrs Robinson, prompting allegations she had acted improperly.

The BBC Spotlight programme which revealed Mrs Robinson’s financial dealings claimed she gave £45,000 to Mr McCambley and kept £5,000 for herself.

The programme said the high-ranking DUP politician demanded the money back after her relationship with Mr McCambley, now 21, soured. He told Spotlight he subsequently paid back £40,000.

A solicitor representing Mr Campbell issued a statement yesterday to say he expected to see an outstanding £5,000 paid back.

Lawyers acting for the builder said: “In relation to the recent Press reports, we have been instructed to confirm that Mr Campbell lent the relevant monies to Mr McCambley on an interest-free basis, expecting their repayment in full once his new business had become firmly established.

“To date £20,000 has been repaid, with £5,000 outstanding. Our client expects to be fully repaid and Mr McCambley's debt cleared.”

The family of well-known developer Fred Fraser, who died two months after giving Mr McCambley the money, also issued a statement yesterday describing the money as a “donation”.

“In June 2008, eight weeks before he died, the late Mr Fred Fraser, at the request of Mrs Iris Robinson, arranged for a donation of £25,000 to be made to a Mr Kirk McCambley,” it said.

“In the months prior to his death Mr Fraser made a large number of charitable donations to different charities and individuals and to what he felt to be worthy causes.

“The Fraser family have nothing further to add and regard the matter as now closed.”

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing being made against either property developer, but the transactions raised questions about the ability of Mrs Robinson to elicit this money.

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