06/09/2016 Spotlight


Hard-hitting investigations. Mandy McAuley uncovers secret recordings that expose corruption around Nama's billion-pound Northern Ireland property deal.

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A warning that this programme contains strong language.


A summer's day in Belfast. A man who was once one of the richest people


in Northern Ireland has left his hospital bed for a meeting. He is


about to secretly record it. This is the actual conversation he recorded.


If the location of the meeting was unusual, the start of it was utterly


remarkable. Property developer John Miskelly was handing over a bag full


of cash. ?40,000, paid to a man promising to


use his "Insider status" to ease the businessman's financial problems. A


payment that depended on utter secrecy.


This is the man taking the cash - Frank Cushnahan - a man with a


formidable reputation in Northern Ireland business and banking


circles. Frank Cushnahan played a hidden role in the biggest property


transaction yet seen in Northern Ireland. Role Spotlight revealed


when we first investigated the deal six months ago. Almost 900


properties over ?1 billion. I'm not a single for sale sign anywhere. --


and not. Cushnahan had an astonishing presence throughout that


deal. He was advising the sellers, the buyers and property developers


who benefited from the sale. While we were making that first programme,


Cushnahan denied that he sought or received any fixers' fees from the


transaction. But he already admitted he was in line for exactly that kind


of payment when he was secretly recorded, speaking about himself in


the third person. What Frank Cushnahan didn't know at


that time was that there were more recordings referring to more secret


cash and secret connections. What makes the content of these


recordings even more shocking is that Frank Cushnahan -- Frank


Cushnahan's high-level connections. This is a sign of Frank Cushnahan


standing in Belfast. When he stepped down as chairman of the harboured


commission as a decade ago, his portrait was painted right at the


very heart of this huge area he presided over. An area that includes


Cushnahan Quay. So what was a man with such sterling credentials doing


a bag of money in a car park? Of course, Frank Cushnahan didn't know


he was bleeding -- being secretly recorded by Frank Miss Kelly, and by


his own account he couldn't resist being the deal -- John Miskelly. And


he couldn't resist doing the deal. One of his lawyers told Spotlight


Cushnahan has been a trusted sounding board for senior executive


ministers over many years. Certainly DUP ministers spoke highly of him


during Stormont committee meetings last year. Good morning, First


Minister. Look, I've made it clear publicly that I've been friendly


with Frank for many years. Good afternoon. I thought that he was


pugnacious but I learned to respect him and I still do and still count


him as a friend. Former Finance Minister Sammy Wilson didn't just


respect Frank Cushnahan, he nominated him to be an advisor to


Ireland's bad bank, the National Asset Management Agency, known as


Nama. Created by the Dublin government in


response to the financial crash in 2009, Nama rescued Irish banks by


taking over 70 billion euros in bad loans. The crash had put millions of


people around the world into a financial hole called negative


equity. They owed more money for their homes than those houses or


flats were now worth. Many ended up losing their homes as a result. But


property developers were on a completely different scale of debt.


They owed a vast amounts of money on buildings and land with no hope of


getting the money back. Their homes might also have been


under threat, but the greater danger was to the very banks they borrowed


from. As Nama's chief executive indicated last year. Lending appears


to have been particularly risky. Five Irish banks advanced 1.5


sterling to property that was subsequently lost -- that


subsequently lost over two thirds of its value. Nama, funded by the Irish


taxpayer, stepped in to take over the property developers' bad debts.


There was one important restriction on the developers. They were not


allowed to buy their properties back from Nama for anything less than the


total amount they owed, and in most cases, that was completely


unfeasible. The only way it would be possible


for developers to get properties back would be if a fund took over


the Nama loans and did what Nama was prevented from doing - settling for


less than the full amount owed. Two years ago, that is what happened.


All the Northern Ireland loans were bought from Nama by a massive


American financial company. And they began refinancing some of the


developers, in other words, selling their properties back to them for


less than they originally owed. But last year, the UK's National


Crime Agency and American investigators began looking into


aspects of that sale, including Frank Cushnahan's intricate and


sometime hidden relationships with the buyers, sellers and developers.


As we will see later in the programme, those investigations led


Frank Cushnahan to embark on a major cover-up, an attempt to hide his


tracks that was also secretly recorded.


Frank Cushnahan had spent three and a half years advising Nama about


their Northern Ireland loan portfolio, a position he had been


given because of his connections. I appointed him because of his


interests. I mean, that's the base on which I chose him. That I knew


that he had interests in banking, I knew he had contacts in the world of


finance, I knew he had interest in the property market, and therefore


that gave him a knowledge which I believed he could then take to the


advisory committee in Nama and use for the good of Northern Ireland.


But Nama also lead Cushnahan to the man who would hand him a bag of


money and record his secrets, a mysterious and publicity-Shi'ite


County Down businessman named John Miskelly. -- publicity shy. John


Miskelly was a hugely successful property developer. At one time he


was in The Sunday Times rich list with a fortune of millions. He was a


bidder for Liverpool Football Club. But Miskelly's fortunes took a


downturn. He began suffering serious health problems that saw him


routinely hospitalised in the financial crash saw the property end


of his empire crumble. Buildings he owned, including town square in


Belfast, were suddenly worth far less than what he owed the banks.


With corporate debts close to ?100 million, which Miskelly's properties


were absorbed by Nama. -- Miskelly's properties. Despite his spectacular


climb and fall, John Miskelly has been an elusive figure. You hear his


name but he is nearly impossible to track down. That's why he's such an


intriguing figure. Because he has such power and such wealth, but


nobody knows really who this guy is and you can't even get a photograph


of him. These pictures, secretly recorded by Spotlight last year


during the meeting with Frank Cushnahan, are among the few images


of Miskelly that are known to exist. Because their respective profiles


were so low, Cushnahan and Miskelly knew very little about each other


when they met outside the City Hospital four years ago. But it


seems they both trusted the judgment of the man who introduced them.


Gareth Robinson. The son of former First Minister Peter Robinson.


I didn't even know... There is no suggestion Gareth


Robinson was aware of the ?40,000 payment or had any role in it. But


in contact that lasted over the next four years, that wasn't the last


time his name would come up in conversation between Miskelly and


Cushnahan. John Miskelly has told Spotlight he


has been recording business meetings for years. He said he started after


he believed he was defrauded in a property transaction. What he ended


up capturing was corrupt behaviour by the individual at the heart of


the biggest property transaction in Northern Ireland's history. Frank


Cushnahan. We played some of those recordings


to financial journalist Ian Fraser. The author of a book about the


collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland, he is well acquainted with


some of Britain's biggest financial scandals.


It is extraordinary that it has been captured on tape. It is amazing.


This is like dynamite, it is totally corrupt. Have you ever come across


anything like this before? In 25 years as a financial journalist, I


have never heard a tape like this. I have been involved with stories


where there are allegations of bribes and brown envelopes, but I


have never had it as blatant as this. John Miskelly says he started


making his recordings because he wanted to expose wrongdoing. He says


he told the PSNI about Frank Cushnahan in 2014. We know he's now


handed some of his recordings over to the National Crime Agency and


America's Securities and Exchange Commission. John Miskelly is in many


ways the ghost at the banquet of this piece. He seems to have amassed


a huge amount of information, information he now seems to be


willing to share with the authorities not only in written but


also in the United States. Miskelly says he has more material that he


has not supplied the spotlight, so we can't know the entirety of what


he has recorded, and he has not answered many of our questions about


what is exposed by these recordings, including aspects of his own


behaviour, questions like why he waited, in some cases several years,


to release the tapes. Was it because Cushnahan didn't deliver what he was


paid ?40,000 for in the car park? There is no doubt that payment was


improper. As a member of Nama's Northern Ireland advisory committee,


Frank Cushnahan should have told Nama about any dealings with John


Miskelly, never mind secretly accepting ?40,000 in cash from him.


The question is, what was that ?40,000 cash payments opposed by?


According to what Cushnahan says in the recording, he was going to help


John Miskelly escape from Nama, something that would EA breach of


the law in the Republic. As we know, Irish Lord prevented developers like


-- Irish law prevented developers like a Miskelly from buying out of


their contracts getting others to do it for them. If any of your loans


are in default with Nama, no one acting on your behalf, no trustee or


agent can purchase those on your behalf. But that is exactly what


Frank Cushnahan proposed, extracting Miss -- Miskelly from Nama by having


his loans bought by a third party. It admits Miskelly would get control


of his property back for less than what he owed the Irish taxpayer.


Cushnahan even cited the law he was intending to circumvent, section 172


of the Nama act. So, if a Nama committee member


attempted to help the developer buy-back assets from Nama using a


third-party, how series would be? It would be very serious for a whole


host of reasons. It would be wrong because there would be a huge


conflict-of-interest with assisting a developer in any way, but also the


use of a third party doesn't change the fact that it would be a breach


of the Nama act. After taking John Miskelly's money, Frank Cushnahan


made an extraordinary claim about why his plan would work. He claims


he could influence a senior executive insight Nama. Spotlight


has spent more than a year investigating this story, and in


that time, it has become clear to us that Frank Cushnahan is not a man


who always tells the truth. He saturated to John Miskelly --


exaggerated, he hid his financial interest and he attempted to mislead


our investigation. So what he says next on the recording may well be an


invention, but if it were true, it would raise significant issues for


Nama about the integrity of its Northern Ireland operations.


Cushnahan's big claim is that he has access to this man, Ronnie Hanna,


one of Nama's most senior executives. Cler Mac John Miskelly


knew that Ronnie Hanna, who comes from Northern Ireland, was Nama's


head of asset recovery. Part of his job was to ensure debt is paid back


as much as possible. He was one of the top senior


executives at Nama, and he sat in a very senior position, which would


have given him over cited a crucial aspect of Nama. Frank Cushnahan's


claims are not direct evidence of any wrongdoing, and Ronnie Hanna


vehemently denies that he and Cushnahan were thick as thieves, or


that he had any improper dealings with Cushnahan. But assuming Ronnie


Hanna didn't know it, Frank Cushnahan was making promises on his


behalf, telling John Miskelly that his access to him would help him get


his property portfolio back. Frank Cushnahan may well have made


up these extraordinary claims about what he could do with Ronnie Hanna's


help just to get ?40,000 out of John Miskelly. And it's important to


remember that ultimately he didn't do what he said he would. His plan


to extract John Miskelly from Nama didn't work, but there is evidence


that he did try to get Miskelly out, and this is it.


John Miskelly says Frank Cushnahan wrote this note, a report on his


Nama properties shortly after he paid Cushnahan ?40,000. We have


asked Cushnahan about this note and shown a copy to his lawyers. He has


not responded to our questions about it. What is significant about this


document is that it contains what appears to be secret information.


The value Nama attached to each of John Miskelly's properties. Nama has


said repeatedly that in his role as an adviser, Frank Cushnahan had no


access to information about individual debtors like John


Miskelly. But if these numbers are what this note says they are, they


are among Nama's most closely guarded secrets. We have shown these


figures to Nama, and asked them twice if it is the same information


held by them. They have refused to confirm or deny it. Why is the value


that Nama puts on properties or assets so important? Nama guard so


jealously because if that information gets out, a bidder


effectively knows what Nama's price point is and where they will sell.


They know exactly how to price their bid.


Inside information about pricing goes against the normal rules of the


marketplace. Knowing the seller's bottom-line puts the buyer at an


advantage. I would really like one of these beautiful boxes, gorgeous.


This is Boxwood, Rosewood, this one is mahogany. How much are you


looking for this? About ?25 each. How much did you pay for it? I


probably paid about ?17. Would you give it to me for 15? Give it if a


less than you bought it. That's reasonable. How can that be


reasonable? We have to make some profit. I will give it due for 20


quid. I think you should give it to me for 15!


Nama transactions routinely stretch into millions and even billions.


Which is why Nama pricing is supposed to be carefully guarded.


It's actually against the law in the Republic to share information from


inside Nama. Earlier this year, a former Nama official was convicted


of distributing the same type of information. The judge said Ende


Farrell only escapes jail because he hadn't gained financially from the


leak. A second former official is awaiting trial on similar charges.


If a Nama committee member was found to be in possession or of leaking


valuations, of a debtor that was unknown to Nama, what would be the


indication there? They shouldn't have any sort of conflict of


interest like that, but in general, any disclosure of sensitive Nama


information is a serious offence. But it is only a serious offence in


the Republic. It is a matter that appears to be beyond the remit of


the National Crime Agency's current investigation. John McGinn


McGuinness now heads the finance committee. Both bodies that those


who scrutinise Nama. He has already heard much evidence about Nama's


Northern Ireland seal. Quite frankly, it does stink a bit, and I


would be deeply concerned about it. We showed him the handwritten note.


This is a noted that appears to detail the Nama valuations or the


values Nama have placed on John Miskelly's... The properties he has


within Nama. It is not just sensitive information, it is


commercially sensitive, information that should not have been exchanged


with another party unless it was with the full authority of Nama.


That does not seem to be the case that Nama gave the authority to


release this information, therefore it is a breach, it is the law being


broken by an individual. It is not a breach in Northern Ireland. It is


not something that the MCA will probably look at. So does business


rate further investigation? That is the difficulty here, it is always


the difficulty that there are two jurisdictions, but this is so


serious, if it is true, and investigation must be carried out by


Nama. An explanation must be given by Nama relative to the valuations


and this note. Otherwise, what's happening is doubt is being created


in the minds of the public of South of Ireland and North of Ireland, and


no real answers are being given. So, where did the information come from?


There are three main possibilities. These figures may have been Frank


Cushnahan's best guesses, or he got them from John Miskelly. Or he was


given them directly by someone inside Nama. There were hints about


the origins of the information in the City Hospital conversation a


month before the note was written. Ronnie Hanna, who left Nama two


years ago, has denied absolutely supplying any confidential


information to Frank Cushnahan. He said he could not answer further


questions because of the ongoing MCA investigation, and because he has a


duty of confidentiality to his former employers. Even if the


information did originate from inside Nama, it is clear from the


prosecutions in the Republic that it could have come from a number of


possible sources. We've asked Frank Cushnahan about it. He said he


served on the Nama advisory committee to help Northern Ireland,


not to acquire sensitive information that he could apply for his own


personal benefit. So, could this information have come from John


Miskelly in the first place? Document refers to one of his former


employees knowing Nama's approved selling price for one property. And


Miskelly seems to say in the recording that he already has access


to some confidential information. But John Miskelly has told us the


?60 million was a number already in the public domain. He insists the


figures purporting to be Nama valuations in the document were new


to him. Nama has refused to discuss what


appears to be a leak, but if Frank Cushnahan had actual insider


information from the agency, that would have significant implications


for Nama and the Irish government. If evidence of more leaks, or more


breaches occur, how serious would that be for Nama? Very serious,


extremely serious. A breach of the law. Those are criminal acts and it


would be extremely serious. It could also run against the grain of the


story that Nama has told time and again to committees and elsewhere,


that they run a very tight ship. Two years ago, with very little advance


notice, Nama suddenly pulled out of Northern Ireland.


REPORTER: Widdecombe was on breaking news. US investment fund has bought


the entire... -- we begin with breaking news.


It was bought by a massive American fund called Cerberus. The seal was


named Project Eagle. The price was over ?1 billion, which represented a


loss for the Irish taxpayer but was declared a win for Northern Ireland.


The seal unlocked things for the heavily indebted developers, now


given the chance to regain control of their properties. Freed from


Nama, one Northern Ireland developer managed to wipe away debts of ?250


million. Not John Miskelly. Frank Cushnahan's


escape plan had come to nothing. And Cerberus sold his properties onto


someone else. He is still involved in legal action against the American


company. At the time, Project Eagle -- at the


time Project Eagle was announced, few people knew Frank Cushnahan's


role. By the time of the seal, you had resigned from the committee,


referring to family priorities. But almost two years earlier he had


already outlined to John Miskelly how he would use his insider status


to set up the entire seal. Cushnahan's big plan was effectively


what happened. He said he wanted to use a giant American fund to get all


of Northern Ireland's developers out of Nama.


At that stage, he said he was already talking to potential


American buyers. And he said the plan had a political


component. The intervention of DUP ministers, including one who counted


himself among Cushnahan's loyal friends. The then Finance Minister


Sammy Wilson. Cushnahan thought Nama might be


willing to sell the Northern Ireland portfolio. And he believed political


pressure could cut the price. As he told Miskelly, if the Americans


could get a bargain, they would sell properties back to the developers at


a lower price, and, in his words, that would leave the developers


smelling of roses. It's clear there was a political


contest here. Do you think he's bluffing about the amount of


influence he had? With the Finance Minister working behind-the-scenes


in 2012? Is very hard to tell, but from some of the remarks, he


genuinely seems to believe he can manipulate things to suit his own


ends. As a paid Nama advisor, Frank


Cushnahan should have told Nama about any contacts he had concerning


Nama business. That Nama says he didn't tell the agency he was


recruiting American investors. In fact, it now seems Cushnahan


contacted every single bidder for the Project Eagle portfolio without


Nama's knowledge. One of them was prepared to pay Cushnahan ?5


million. Of course, Cushnahan's plan to leave


developers smelling of roses also involved bringing politics into the


marketplace. He told John Miskelly he wanted executive ministers to


drive the price down. I absolutely love this vintage ring. Good, good.


It's mocked at ?32. How much did you pay for it? I can't tell you that!


I'll pay you less than you paid for it. You're not paying me less than


you paid -- than I paid for it! Frank Cushnahan seem to think


politics would change the way the market works. Frank Cushnahan wanted


to Sammy Wilson and Peter Robinson to ask the Dublin government to cut


the price of Nama's Northern Ireland portfolio.


A discount from Dublin. That was Frank Cushnahan's plan. The question


is, did it work? The portfolio was sold at a loss.


And we know that when the first offer for the Nama package came


forward, Peter Robinson has asked the Dublin Finance Minister what


could be done to protect the Northern Ireland economy. But the


Irish government and Peter Robinson have told us there was never any


discussion about a discount in their talks about the Northern Ireland


seal. Mr Robinson told us the suggestion of a discount was


miserable and we were only using his name to create interest in this


programme. We also asked Sammy Wilson about Frank Cushnahan's


claimed that he was working behind-the-scenes to sell the Nama


portfolio. He did not respond to our question. Nama insists it got the


best price possible. After listening to Cushnahan on the recording,


finance committee chairman John McGuinness isn't so sure. It was


sold for substantially less than what I would have anticipated that


it was worth. It's clear from what was being said on your tape that an


arrangement was being made to use the political system to stop the


sale of Project Eagle for the benefit of a small number of people.


Essentially it would appear to me that Mr Cushnahan was using the


political system and the economy of Northern Ireland to get that


discount, and whether people knew his intentions or not, he obviously


had it well worked out, a plan, to achieve what he wanted. This throws


a whole new light on it and I think it goes back to both governments to


take action on it. The Sinn Fein TD is currently a member of the Public


Accounts Committee in Dublin and has also questioned Nama about the sale.


What is absolutely certain is that we saw a web of relationships


between a small number of people within Nama and associated with


Nama, and associated with the Project Eagle portfolio, and to


anybody looking at that turn of events, you would question, for


somebody being played for a full? Was somebody willingly played as a


full? And what exactly were the dynamics? -- is a fool? I don't


believe we have all of it yet. Spotlight has been given an account


of another meeting between John Miskelly and Frank Cushnahan and


another secret payment. In early 2013, as flat protesters marched in


Belfast city centre, Cushnahan and Miskelly met in Tughans' law firm.


It was a Saturday afternoon and Frank Cushnahan was on his way to


Stormont, so the brief meeting took place in the lobby. It began much


might -- much like the earlier meeting at Belfast City Hospital,


with John Miskelly handing Frank Cushnahan a lot of cash.


This time, it was 10,000 euros, in bundles of 20s and tens. Immediately


after handing over the money, John Miskelly said the only people who


know I give you money is you and me. Frank Cushnahan responded, that was


all right. But the cash wasn't the only payment to the two men


discussed that day. John Miskelly told Frank Cushnahan


that he had paid ?5,000 at Christmas to Gareth Robinson, the First


Minister's son. Spotlight understands Frank Cushnahan told


Miskelly not to give Gareth Robinson any more money, and said he wasn't


involved in what they were discussing. He said that he would


give Robinson something out of any refinancing deal. We asked John


Miskelly and Gareth Robinson about the alleged payment and their


relationship. Gareth Robinson did not respond to us. John Miskelly


told us he paid Gareth Robinson for public relations work. This wasn't


the first time Cushnahan and Miskelly had talked about paying


Gareth Robinson. When they first met at Belfast City Hospital to discuss


how Miskelly could get his property back for less than he owed,


Cushnahan said he would give Gareth will -- Gareth Robinson a share of


the money out of that proposed extraction from Nama.


Cushnahan appeared to be concerned about what Gareth Robinson would


think of his contact with Miskelly. Of course, the refinancing of John


Miskelly's properties never came off. And there is no evidence Gareth


Robinson received any money from Frank Cushnahan. The Nama seal was


the biggest property deal in Northern Ireland's history. It


encompassed the loans behind almost 900 properties. At first, the seal


seemed remarkably smooth on the surface. It was endorsed by


practically everyone. Nama, the indebted developers and the


administrations in Belfast and Dublin. But that changed last year.


As we described in our last programme, Ian Coulter, a


high-profile lawyer who worked with Frank Cushnahan on the seal,


suddenly left his prestigious post at the top of Tughans' law firm.


Tughans then reported that Ian Coulter had removed a substantial


portion of a fee they got from the Nama seal. More than ?6 million had


gone to an offshore account on the Isle of Man. There were big question


marks over why millions of pounds from the Nama seal had been moved to


the Isle of Man. The Law Society in Belfast began an investigation. And


that investigation prompted Frank Cushnahan to start covering his


tracks. We know Frank Cushnahan started working for John Miskelly


back in 2012 because he said so right after Miskelly gave him


?40,000. But that's a lie, according to Nama.


They said Cushnahan never told them he was working with Miskelly or any


other developer. Being paid by Nama and being paid by one of their


debtors was a major conflict-of-interest. The cover-up


began last year. At the same time Spotlight started to gather evidence


about Frank Cushnahan's role. When we secretly filmed this meeting at a


Belfast hotel between Frank Cushnahan and John Miskelly, they


were joined by David Gray, an accountant working for Miskelly.


Cushnahan showed a bit grey a letter he wanted John Miskelly to sign.


But Cushnahan put a false date on the letter so it looks like he only


started working for Miskelly in 2014, after he resigned as a Nama


adviser. John Miskelly immediately questioned


the date on the letter. David Gray, the third man President


at this meeting -- present at this meeting said he thought the early


date was because the agreement between the two men had been agreed


but not formalised earlier. Frank Cushnahan's need to cover his tracks


became even more urgent once this happened.


Independent TD Mick Wallace claimed the millions of pounds move to the


Isle of Man was a payoff for a politician. No actual evidence


against a politician has emerged. But the sale came on and Leinster


house in Dublin. But it wasn't just politicians combing through the Nama


sale. The PSNI asked the National Crime Agency to investigate, and


some powerful American agencies, including BFB Ahye, began showing


interest in the case. -- including the FBI. A few weeks after the


allegations surfaced, Frank Cushnahan went to see John Miskelly


while he was getting treatment in the world Victoria Hospital. Frank


Cushnahan seemed nervous about the investigations.


And it's clear Cushnahan had growing misgivings about John Miskelly. The


Irish News had reported that there were 30 hours of recordings that


could hold the key to the Nama investigations, and Frank Cushnahan


suspected that they belonged to John Miskelly.


John Miskelly was telling the truth. The recordings referred to by the


Irish News had been made by another businessman, but it was clear


Cushnahan felt vulnerable to what Miskelly new. If Frank Cushnahan was


suspicious of John Miskelly then, imagine how he felt when he learned


that Miskelly was expected to testify at storm -- Stormont. The


finance committee which was investigating the Nama scandal


interviewed John Miskelly last year. For Frank Zhang, Miskelly's


testimony was a catastrophe waiting to happen. Last November, he came


back to the royal to discourage John Miskelly from talking to the


Stormont committee. Miskelly said he wanted to tell the


assembly about his grievances against Nama and the Anglo Irish


bank. Then Cushnahan moved onto suggesting


how Miskelly should respond to the committee.


Cushnahan then got to the nub of the matter, what Miskelly might tell


NLAs about payment lee-macro. But it wasn't just the committee


that concerned Frank Cushnahan. He had an even bigger worry. What John


Miskelly might tell the National Crime Agency.


Last October, the same group of people that we secretly recorded at


the Hotel lunch, Frank Cushnahan, John Miskelly and accounting David


Gray, met again. Frank Zhang's lawyers told us it


would be totally inappropriate for him to comment on matters that might


be part of the National Crime Agency's investigation, but that is


clearly not how he felt at this meeting, because he started to coach


John Miskelly about what to say to detect did from the NCA. The


conversation took place in a busy hospital canteen.


And when it came to the question of payments, Cushnahan made it clear he


wanted Miskelly to lie to police. Cushnahan had received bags full of


cash from John Miskelly, but here he was telling Miskelly to keep that a


secret. It is essentially another part of


the process of seeking to cover his tracks. He is ensuring that Miskelly


knows the score and they are singing of the same hymn sheet should be NCA


arrive on the doorstep. We have asked Frank Cushnahan about the


material in all the recordings play tonight. Last week his employer said


he would not be providing any further responses because of the


ongoing MCA investigation, and because he is contemplating legal


proceedings against the BBC. -- his lawyer said.


More than a year has gone by since serious questions were first asked


about the sale known as Project Eagle. Somebody was setting up the


purchase, is what it appears to me. Do you feel, Mr McDonald, that you


might have been set up in any way? No.


The wait for answers looks like it will go on much longer. The National


Crime Agency arrested two people on suspicion of fraud at the end of


May, almost 11 months into the investigation. Those people were


quietly released from police bail over the summer. No further action


has been taken against them, though the NCA says the investigation


remains active. The only political casualties has


been the chairman of Stormont's inquiry into the affair. Sinn Fein


MLA Dave Mackay resigned from the assembly -- Daithi McKay resigned.


There have been persistent recalls for an inquiry into the Nama sale.


So far the Irish government has resisted. The Republic's authorities


say an inquiry should not happen until the National Crime Agency


investigation in Northern Ireland is complete, but much of the evidence


we have revealed tonight points to breaches of southern law, breaches


beyond the powers of the NCA. John Merrick and -- McGuinness looked at


our evidence. I presume that that was a


transaction of 40,000 in cash for some reason or other. I just think


that that piece played their shows you how incorrect, how unlawful, all


of this seems to have been. Now the finance committee chairman says


Spotlight's evidence means a radical new approach is required on both


sides of the border. I think that if you were to tell anybody the story


without the audio or without the presentation of documents, they


would find it extremely difficult to believe. You have to actually listen


to the audio. You have to read the documents. And it's only then that


the shock begins to setting as to what was really happening in


Northern Ireland regarding Project Eagle. Two months ago he voted


against a commission of inquiry. What is your opinion now? This goes


beyond just a commission of inquiry in the South. If you had an all


Ireland commission of inquiry, then you will get a clear picture. It is


now quite obvious from the meeting in the hospital, from the sharing of


confidential information, from Nama, and all of the other activity mixed


in with it that that cross-border effort must be made to get to the


end of this and to get to the truth, and for people to face the


consequences of their actions. In the absence of an effective


mechanism for getting to the truth, there is a danger that criminal


investigations will stall, caught between conflicting justice systems


north and south.


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