Belfast Telegraph

Writer quits over Moriarty dispute

A journalist who previously worked for billionaire Denis O'Brien has resigned as columnist with The Irish Times amid the fallout over the Moriarty Tribunal.

Sarah Carey insisted she had not lied while giving evidence to the tribunal about leaking information on a political donation from Mr O'Brien to the defunct Progressive Democrat party.

She admitted telling her legal team she was not the source of the leak but added: "When I came to give evidence under oath at the tribunal, I told the whole truth about the leak and denial."

Ms Carey will also stand down as anchor of a magazine show on TV3.

Under the rules of a tribunal of inquiry, none of the evidence given or findings made can be used to bring a criminal prosecution directly.

The 14-year inquiry resulted in damning findings over the controversial award of the state's second mobile phone licence to Mr O' Brien's Esat Digifone consortium in 1996, which he later sold for more than 2 billion euro.

The 150 million euro inquiry found that former communications minister and Independent TD Michael Lowry passed on classified information crucial to Mr O'Brien's successful bid.

Mr Lowry was separately found to have received a string of secret payments from Mr O'Brien through off-shore banks, accounts in associates' names and loans following the granting of the mobile licence. The tribunal found monies were used to fund property deals in Dublin and England.

There are two lawsuits pending against the decision to award the licence to Mr O'Brien, who has vehemently denied wrongdoing. The inquiry also found Fine Gael received a 50,000 US dollar (35,000 euro) donation from Mr O'Brien around the time of the successful bid, which was later repaid.

The mammoth report is being examined by top fraud squad officers, the Revenue Commissioners and Director of Public Prosecutions James Hamilton.

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