BUSINESSMAN Frank ‘The Snipe’ Cushnahan, who has been at the centre of the £1 billion Nama ‘fire sale’ deal, was recorded accepting a £40,000 cash payment from a Nama borrower, according to awarding winning BBC Spotlight NI.
The recording was made in 2012 at a time when Mr Cushnahan was still working as an adviser to Nama.
The payment was made by the property developer John Miskelly during a meeting in a hospital car park.
Mr Miskelly said “payments made by me to any persons have been lawful”.
Mr Cushnahan has denied any wrongdoing and told BBC Spotlight he would not be providing any further responses because of the ongoing National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.
The recording was broadcast by the Spotlight programme last night, Tuesday, August 6.
Mr Cushnahan, a former banker, was appointed to that committee by the DUP in May 2010 and served until November 2013.
According to what Mr Cushnahan says on the recording he was going to help Mr Miskelly with a refinancing deal which would get his assets out of Nama.
Mr Cushnahan also claimed he could influence a senior Nama official, Ronnie Hanna.
There is no direct evidence of wrongdoing by Mr Hanna and he firmly denies that he had any improper dealings with Mr Cushnahan.
In a later recording of Mr Cushnahan, also broadcast by Spotlight, he appears to encourage Mr Miskelly to lie to police if they ask questions about their Nama-related dealings.
In a statement, Mr Miskelly said: “Since 2007/8 I have consistently and truthfully reported financial crime and corruption with the relevant authorities…
“My overriding aim has always been to highlight wrongdoing and corruption and have all of these matters fully investigated by the appropriate authorities.
“I have at all time made clear, that payments made by me to any persons have been lawful and legitimate.
“As a witness I am participating in the ongoing investigations by the NCA and authorities in the United States and in the interest of integrity of the judicial process I am unable to make any further comment.”
Nama has already reported Mr Cushnahan to Ireland’s ethics watchdog over his dealings with an investment fund which was interested in buying the Northern Ireland loan portfolio.
Mr Cushnahan met the Pimco fund in May 2013, then when he resigned as a Nama adviser he worked for the fund.
He was in line to receive a £5m fee if Pimco’s bid for the portfolio had been successful, the Irish parliament has been told.
That bid collapsed in March 2014 when Nama learned of Mr Cushnahan’s role.
Nama has said that Mr Cushnahan never made any disclosure of an interest relating to Pimco or its possible interest in bidding for the portfolio.
The portfolio was sold to the Cerberus investment fund in 2014 for £1.2bn.
A previous Spotlight investigation broadcast a recording of Mr Cushnahan claiming he was also due to be paid a fee in relation to that transaction from a Belfast solicitor.
Mr Cushnahan has consistently denied that he was due to receive money.