The Irish Examiner continues to take the lead in coverage of the Bulgarian connection. This time reporting that a former director of the Bank of Scotland(Ireland) also travelled to Bulgaria with the six previously known to have made that trip. That former director, Denis Oâ€™Connell, also confirmed that he carried out checks into Cork company Chesterton Finance on behalf of Mr [Phil] Flynn.AS reported in the Examiner by Michael Oâ€™Farrell,
A FORMER director of the Bank of Scotland (Ireland) has confirmed he travelled to Bulgaria last month with Government troubleshooter Phil Flynn and Cork money lender Ted Cunningham.
However, Denis Oâ€™Connell, who is also a former ICC official, said he was â€œ100% innocent and had nothing to hide in this matterâ€.
THe Examiner quotes from a statement by Mr O’Connell –
Mr Oâ€™Connell also said he had been asked by Phil Flynn to â€œcarry out preliminary checks on Chesterton Finance as part of his assessment to become involved with the companyâ€.
Mr Oâ€™Connell added that he was subsequently asked by Mr Flynn to travel to Bulgaria as one of a group of seven â€œfor the purpose of investigating potential property opportunitiesâ€.
He added: â€œThe reason I was asked to go to Bulgaria is because I have travelled on many occasions to Eastern Europe – particularly Croatia – where I have an interest in property.â€
One point to note here. When Phil Flynn resigned from the Bank of Scotland(Ireland) board he described the decision to join Chesterton Finance as “a mistake” after initially saying that the company was “clean”.
Again according to the statement quoted in the Examiner –
Mr Oâ€™Connell said that while in Bulgaria the group had met â€œauctioneers, property developers and builders, all in relation to property in Bulgariaâ€.
But he also distanced himself from Chesterton Finance and Ted Cunningham –
He said: â€œI attended some of these meetings – all of which were connected with the Bulgarian property market. Apart from the above, I have no other involvement with Chesterton Finance or Ted Cunningham.â€
Although, I’d quite like to hear the results of his ‘preliminary checks’ into Chesterton Finance on behalf of Mr Flynn.
The Examiner recaps its earlier reports –
Earlier this week, the Irish Examiner confirmed Mr Flynn and Mr Cunningham opened two bank accounts and registered three new companies during the trip.
Mr Flynn and Mr Cunningham also met with a senior banker and finance minister Ilia Lingorski, who is responsible for foreign inward investment.
However, since he resigned from all his public positions and as chairman of the Bank of Scotland (Ireland) last week, Mr Flynn has repeatedly denied any involvement in IRA money laundering.
When speaking to the Irish Examiner on Monday, he promised to make all the details of his business links to Bulgaria public when the Criminal Assets Bureau returns the files it confiscated last week.