Belfast Telegraph

Call to open solicitors’ files on £3.8m Malone Road land deal

By Adrian Rutherford

Solicitors' files on the sale of a former south Belfast military base should be handed over so that a full investigation into the controversial deal can take place, it has been claimed.

A mystery buyer snapped up the 2.5-acre Malone Road barracks when it was auctioned off in October 2003, paying £3.8 million — £1m less than its estimated value — only to sell it on to a third party on the same day. That price has never been revealed.

It has since emerged that key documents held by Land and Property Services on the deals were destroyed in 2010 — months after the matter came under scrutiny from the Audit Office.

Belfast SDLP councillor Claire Hanna said it was “outrageous” an individual may have made up to £1m profit on the land

“Why is the identity of that person not in the public domain?” she said. “Even if the Civil Service files are gone, it should be easy enough to identify the solicitors for the transaction.”

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