The Irish Examiner continues to investigate the details of the January trip to Bulgaria by Phil Flynn and Ted Cunningham – and reports on further details about the trip.The Irish Examiner report claims the group of six included two more Irish citizens, as well as Flynn and Cunningham, but cites legal reasons for not naming them. The report also has details of the trip as compiled by the Bulgarian newspaper 24 Chasa (24 Hours) –
A source close to the investigation here confirmed the membership of the group and the creation of the companies.
But the source does dispute some of the details of the Bulgarian report – regarding the newly registered company names and the amounts of money deposited in bank accounts.
Bulgarian officials are now confirming Phil Flynn did meet with a Ministry of Finance official during the trip –
The details emerged last night as Bulgarian officials confirmed Mr Flynnâ€™s assertion in yesterdayâ€™s Irish Examiner that he had met a senior Ministry of Finance official during his visit.
A statement from the ministry had earlier denied any such meeting but it was later stated that Ilia Lingorski, deputy finance minister with responsibility for foreign inward investment, had met the Irish visitors.
The ministry insisted, however, that it was normal practice for him to meet with potential investors and said any discussions concerned only the â€œgeneral business environmentâ€.
Bulgarian police, meanwhile, said they had the names of the property developers the Irish men met and the lawyers they hired.
Additionally, the Bulgarian Financial Investigation Agency is reported to be invesigating the money-laundering allegations.. but dismisses the reported story of an ‘attempt to buy a bank’ –
Bulgariaâ€™s Financial Investigation Agency said it was also investigating the money laundering allegations, but dismissed reports that suggested the IRA was planning to buy a bank or set up its own financial institution.
â€œWe have intercepted neither any large-scale financial operation to launder money through the financial system of the country nor an attempt to buy a bank,â€ agency director Vasil Kirov told Bulgarian News Network.
â€œNo one can come to buy a bank here and remain unnoticed,â€ he added.