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Nama deal: Thousands of phone call recordings to be turned over to National Crime Agency

Published 03/09/2015

Gareth Graham said the tapes showed an 'ingrained culture of inappropriate and possibly illegal conduct'
Gareth Graham said the tapes showed an 'ingrained culture of inappropriate and possibly illegal conduct'"
Former Nama advisor Frank Cushnahan

Thousands of phone calls involving former Nama advisor Frank Cushnahan are to be handed over to the National Crime Agency.

A Belfast businessman said the hundreds of hours of tapes showing an "ingrained culture of inappropriate and possibly illegal conduct" across political, banking, legal and accountancy sectors.

All of the recordings involved Mr Cushnahan, an inquiry heard today.

Property developer and bookmaker Gareth Graham was giving evidence at the Stormont inquiry into the €1.6bn sale of Nama’s northern loan portfolio, codenamed Project eagle.

Loans held by Mr Graham's property companies were sold to Cerberus, the US investment fund, as part of that deal.

Mr Cushnahan acted as an advisor to Mr Graham’s businesses from 2005 to 2008 and had the use of one of its bookmaking offices.

The inquiry was told that all calls into and out of the business were recorded.

Mr Graham said he would be handing over the tapes to the National Crime Agency (NCA), the UK’s equivalent of the FBI, which is investigating the deal.

He added that he has already spoken to the NCA and made a complaint to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The developer also claimed Mr Cushnahan still owns 5pc of a property company that was in Nama.

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Mr Cushnahan had claimed he sold his interest in the company prior to joining Nama’s Northern Ireland Advisory Board.

However, Mr Graham said this was retained by Mr Cushnahan and that he had not disclosed this to Nama, as he was obliged to do under the Nama Act.

The inquiry is to write to Mr Cushnahan inviting him to respond.

It is understood Mr Cushnahan has experienced ill health in recent days.

Mr Cushnahan stepped down from his Nama advisory role six months early, in November 2013, citing "personal reasons" and family concerns.

He subsequently became involved as an advisor with Pimco, a US investment firm which had expressed an interest in Nama's NI loan book.

Mr Cushnahan has previously denied any wrongdoing in relation to the deal.

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