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TD will make fresh claims about Belfast Nama adviser

By Allan Preston

Published 21/11/2016

Outspoken: Mick Wallace
Outspoken: Mick Wallace

Outspoken Irish politician Mick Wallace has promised to make more allegations this week about Belfast businessman Frank Cushnahan and his role in "the biggest financial scandal in Irish history" - the sale of Northern Ireland's Nama portfolio.

Speaking in the Dail last Thursday, Mr Wallace said after travelling to Asia to meet a businessman, he obtained an email chain showing that "within a short time of Frank Cushnahan being appointed to Nama, he was peddling assets belonging to Nama to foreign parts".

The Independent TD has said he intends to make more information public this week once it has been verified.

Mr Wallace's source is reported to be Barry Lloyd, a 68-year-old English businessman who represented Chinese investors prepared to pay £1bn for Nama's Northern Ireland assets.

"Mr Lloyd had emailed Mr Cushnahan in November 2011 to see if he could secure UK or Irish passports for the investors as part of the deal.

He had allegedly already told the Chinese investors he was "pretty sure" he could secure "permanent residential status" in Ireland or the UK, but added it would be "up to the politicians to see if it could be arranged".

In February 2012, Mr Lloyd is understood to have been reassured by Mr Cushnahan that he was moving closer to securing entrance visas for the "main Chinese investors" and he had approached someone with political connections for help."

A spokesman for Mr Cushnahan said he had no comment to make "on these or other selective communications relating to legitimate business discussions, which he was satisfied had been bona fide and lawful".

In February 2012, Mr Lloyd is understood to have been reassured by Mr Cushnahan that he was moving closer to securing entrance visas for the "main Chinese investors" and he had approached someone with political connections for help.

Mr Lloyd - an IT consultant based in Clogher, Co Tyrone - often worked in Asia between 2010 and 2012 when he exchanged dozens of emails with Mr Cushnahan.

The Sunday Business Post said the emails showed Mr Cushnahan had been working to secure money from wealthy investors in Asia for various deals, including buying Nama loans. The report adds Mr Lloyd struggled to raise the finance and ultimately no deal was done with Mr Cushnahan, Nama or otherwise.

In 2014, Northern Ireland's Nama portfolio was sold to US equity firm Cerberus for £1.2bn.

The sale - nicknamed Project Eagle - is at the centre of a number of investigations.

Last Thursday, Cerberus chief Mark Neporent told the Irish government's Public Accounts Committee it paid a law firm a £15m "success fee" for information that would aid their bid.

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