Allegations made almost two years ago by one of Northern Ireland's leading politicians loomed large over a judicial review in the High Court this week.
The outcome of the case taken by the Sheridan Group against the Department for Social Development (DSD) will be known early in the New Year, when judge Mr Justice Gillen gives his ruling. But political fall-out from the four days of proceedings may last longer.
It was on February 8 2006, that DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson rose in the House of Commons to accuse the Sheridan Group and its boss Peter Curistan of a connection to "the IRA's dirty money".
Mr Robinson did so in the context of Sheridan being the preferred developer for the publicly-owned Queen's Quay riverside site in Belfast.
Ten months later, the DSD ditched the company from the waterfront investment scheme.
It fell to the department this week to convince a judge that Mr Robinson's claims had no influence on its decision.
Opening his case, DSD QC Stephen Shaw said: "We are pleased to have the opportunity to make clear that we regard as baseless those allegations."
This means that a dovernment department - a wing of an administration in which Mr Robinson is Finance Minister - believes he made unfounded claims of serious illegality against a businessman and company.
The DUP deputy has made no public comment on his Sheridan Group allegations since his 2006 Commons attack. And there has been no statement on the subject from the minister this week, which is to be expected given the live legal proceedings.
He has been invited over the last two years to repeat his comments outside the House, without the protection of parliamentary privilege.
The issue may also raise its head in the Assembly - the High Court heard that SDLP and Sinn Fein leaders Mark Durkan and Gerry Adams have spoken up for Mr Curistan in correspondence with the NIO.
The DSD's barrister also described Mr Robinson's claims as "ill-judged and unfounded" during this week's court proceedings. Mr Shaw said the PSNI and the NIO's security wing had told the department that there were no grounds for concern.
The lawyer later referred to Mr Curistan's affidavit to the court and said the businessman believed the MP had effectively been acting as the " voice piece" of rival business interests.
Sheridan's case was that the Robinson intervention in the Commons had " poisoned" DSD's handling of the Queen's Quay project - that public officials had dumped the company from the scheme to avoid any risk of them being castigated for a government link to criminality.
Sheridan's wants its Queen's Quay preferred developer status to be restored by the judge.
The department countered in court that its decision was entirely due to financial management issues.
It stressed that a due diligence study of the company's capacity to deliver the waterfront scheme had exposed serious failings in corporate governance, as well as gaps in its audited accounts.
Sheridan's QC Mark Horner yesterday argued that it had been the victim of both unfairness and bad faith.
He also stated that the due diligence accounting review had not addressed the "dirty money" issue. He argued that high level internal memos showed that civil service head Nigel Hamilton and DSD permanent secretary Alan Shannon believed the matter was being addressed through this process. The DSD's legal team has disputed this claim.
Mr Horner said Mr Curistan had invited an inspection of his company's books last year and said he had nothing to fear.
The judge interjected: "It turns out that he had nothing to fear, because these allegations were groundless."