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Nama row: Stormont committee to call witnesses over rumours politician involved in 'dirty scheme'


Mick Wallace,Independent TD for Wexford

Mick Wallace,Independent TD for Wexford

Mick Wallace,Independent TD for Wexford

Rumours are circulating that a politician was involved in "a dirty scheme" linked to a massive property deal, a Stormont committee heard today.

The Assembly's finance committee met in emergency session following allegations made in the Dail by independent TD Mick Wallace.

Mr Wallace raised concerns over the sale of Nama's Northern Ireland property portfolio to US firm Cerberus Capital Management in April 2014.

He said Tughans, a Belfast law firm, acted for Cerberus and "a routine audit showed that £7m ended up in an Isle of Man bank account".

The money was in an account allegedly controlled by Ian Coulter, a former managing partner at Tughans.

He left the company - which denies any wrongdoing - in January after it found out and retrieved the cash.

Today Stormont's finance committee said it would call Mr Wallace as a witness.

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Mr Coulter and Tughans will also be called, as will Brian Rowntree and Frank Cushnahan, who both sat on Nama’s Northern Ireland advisory committee.

Committee chair Daithi McKay said if witnesses did not attend voluntarily, they could be compelled to appear.

The first hearings on the matter will take place next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mr McKay said the committee was aware of rumours in the newspapers "and elsewhere" about the Nama-Cerberus deal.

He said public confidence must be restored.

DUP MLA Paul Girvan said there was a cloud hanging over the political institutions.

"Now you have implications that there is a politician involved in what is a dirty scheme and actually that could impact on how this institution is viewed," he said.

SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley said there was evidence that politicians met with Cerberus and Pimco, another US investment firm linked to the Nama portfolio, adding that those politicians should be witnesses.

Police confirmed yesterday they were still not investigating the claims made by Mr Wallace in the Dail last week.

TUV leader Jim Allister said he was astounded by the lack of complaints to the PSNI.

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