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Two men facing charges linked to NI's largest property deal to stand trial next year, court told


Belfast Crown Court. Photo: Liam McBurney

Belfast Crown Court. Photo: Liam McBurney

Belfast Crown Court. Photo: Liam McBurney

Two men facing charges linked to Northern Ireland's largest property deal will stand trial next year, a court heard on Tuesday.

The charges against both Frank Cushnahan and Ian Coulter followed an investigation into the £1.2bn sale of the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA)'s Northern Ireland property loan book.

NAMA was established by the Irish Government to deal with toxic loans following the banking crisis in the Republic in 2008.

Former NAMA adviser Frank Cushnahan and ex-solicitor Ian Coulter appeared at Belfast Crown Court, where they each denied charges arising from the National Crime Agency Investigation.

Both men - who appeared via video link - were jointly charged with one count of fraud by false representation made on or around April 3, 2014.

When the charge was put to both men, they each replied 'not guilty’.

Cushanhan (80), from Alexandra Gate in Holywood, was also charged with - and denied - fraud by failing to disclose information between April 1 and November 7, 2013.

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In addition to the fraud charge he faces with co-accused Cushnahan, an additional four charges were put to Coulter.

The 50-year old, from Templepatrick Road in Ballyclare, pleaded 'not guilty' to:
*fraud by false representation on or around September 11, 2014
*supplying an article for the use of fraud on August 13, 2014
*removing criminal property from Northern Ireland on September 15, 2014
*transferring criminal property between September 15 and December 1, 2014

Following the arraignment, it emerged that due to the significant volume of paperwork and witnesses involved, a trial is not expected to take place until 2023 and will run for an estimated four weeks.

Mr Justice Huddleston said the case will be reviewed again on May 3rd.

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