Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Police chief 'confident over probe'

Barry Gilligan's home and office have been searched by police

Northern Ireland Policing Board chair Barry Gilligan has predicted his name will be cleared by a police investigation into his involvement in a Belfast land deal.

Announcing he was postponing his return to office after heart surgery until the criminal investigation was over, the wealthy developer said he was confident he would be fully vindicated.

The father of three was expected back at his desk next week following six months of recuperation, but he changed his plans after officers searched his south Belfast home and board office.

The 58-year-old said: "It had been my intention to return to my role as chairman before the end of the summer but in light of the recent activity by the PSNI, my coronary condition and the dignity of the office of chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, I feel that I should not return to the role at this time."

A number of unspecified items were taken by detectives from his home and his office at the board's headquarters in the Clarendon Dock area of Belfast on Monday night.

Police are investigating a land deal involving Mr Gilligan's property company - Big Picture Developments.

The Co Fermanagh man is a director of the business.

Detectives were called in five months ago by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to investigate its role at a site in Nelson Street, Belfast, owned by the company.

Mr Gilligan said he would co-operate fully with the police.

"As with every individual in our community, it is my responsibility to assist the police in whatever way possible in the conduct of their inquiries," he said.

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