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Committee seeks Nama loan sale information from loyalist Jamie Bryson

Published 20/08/2015

Jamie Bryson came to prominence during the flag protests
Jamie Bryson came to prominence during the flag protests

Prominent loyalist Jamie Bryson has been asked to provide information about Nama's Northern Ireland loan sale.

Daithi McKay, chairman of the Stormont committee investigating the £1.1 billion deal to sell the organisation's massive property portfolio, said Assembly members would write to Mr Bryson, who claims he has information about the sale which he is willing to share with the committee.

Finance Committee member and Sinn Fein MLA Michaela Boyle said: "He is a person of interest and we did put out the call for anyone who may have information to bring that forward to the committee.

"In terms of Mr Bryson's letter to us, we are not in the business of shutting doors on anybody with information; factual information, if it is a concern to this committee, should be brought forward."

Mr Bryson was a high-profile Union flag protester who was convicted of taking part in unlawful public processions during a campaign against Belfast City Council's decision in December 2012 to limit the number of days the flag flew from the city hall.

The committee said it would send Mr Bryson its terms of reference. It is constrained by criminal investigations into the affair.

Mr Bryson tweeted: "I will carefully study the DFP (committee) terms of reference, respond outlining areas of relevance and provide oral evidence within those parameters."

Nama is the "bad bank" set up by the Irish government to clear property loans from bailed-out lenders.

It and all private firms involved in the Northern Ireland assets sale have denied wrongdoing.

Nama sold the portfolio to US firm Cerberus last year.

The committee said it wanted to see a letter the head of the civil service Dr Malcolm McKibben had written regarding the National Crime Agency's investigation into the Nama sale.

Mr McKay said: "I am aware there are some efforts to stymie this inquiry."

The committee is also asking the Finance Department in Dublin to provide it with all correspondence it holds between various ministers for finance in Northern Ireland and the Republic relating to the Nama.

Allegations were levelled in the Dail recently by Independent TD Mick Wallace.

Using parliamentary privilege, Mr Wallace alleged that £7 million in an Isle of Man account linked to the deal was "reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or political party".

A lawyer involved has denied the money was intended for a politician or relative of a politician.

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