“no such sterling transactions that day”

The Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments, aka the Mahon Tribunal, has resumed after they had deferred opening a second module on Quarryville when Taoiseach Bertie Ahern called the general election.. and, as RTÉ reports, they’ve begun by hearing about discrepancies in Mr Ahern’s latest account of events surrounding his finances.This is what Bertie Ahern had to say on 13th May about dollar transactions

(vi) The lodgment on 5th December 1994 was not a dollar lodgment

There has been some speculation about this sum. The lodgment of about £28,700 on 5th December 1994 was a cash lodgment which is not exactly £30,000 sterling but rather is a lesser sum and may have been a mixture of sterling and Irish pounds. Hence it is in an irregular amount. It is not a dollar sum. I never had $45,000 either then, before then or since. There are no dollar transactions in my accounts. I do not deal nor have I ever dealt in dollars.

In addition two points need to be emphasized. Firstly, at the appropriate AIB rate for dollars on that date, a lodgment of £28,772.90 would equate not to $45,000 but to $44,277.68. Secondly, there are a number of combinations of sterling and Irish pounds that result in the amount which was lodged. The sum of $45,000 was never lodged to any account maintained by Ms. Larkin for the purpose of the house.

And today, from the RTÉ report, at the Tribunal

Bertie Ahern said the money lodged to the account of Celia Larkin in December 1994 came from £30,000 sterling in cash given to him by Manchester businessman Michael Wall.

He said it was for structural work on the house in Drumcondra he was then renting from Mr Wall.

But Des O’Neill SC for the inquiry said today that the £28,777 lodged did not equate with the sterling exchange rate and that bank records showed there were no such sterling transactions that day.

There were however transactions in other currencies that day which would equate a payment of $45,000 dollars.

Another transaction said to have been a re-lodgement of savings by Mr Ahern was now discovered to have been the result of a sterling transaction. While another lodgement did not back up Mr Ahern’s claim that he received £8,000 sterling from Manchester businessman.

Mr O’Neill also said there is very little documentary evidence to support Mr Ahern’s about the source of the five lodgements totalling over £116,000.

And from the Irish Times report

Mr Ahern has stated the sum of money was £30,000 sterling but bank records show no such sterling exchange was made on the day in question.

The Mahon tribunal heard that £28,772 Irish punts lodged to an account by the Taoiseach’s then partner Celia Larkin was exactly the equivalent of $45,000 dollars at the foreign exchange rates that operated that day.

Bank records received by the tribunal showed that the total amount of sterling notes exchanged at the branch for Irish punts that day was £1,921.55. Mr Ahern has said he was not involved in any significant dollar transactions.

Des O’Neill SC, for the tribunal, said that no one should draw any conclusions from the figures and that there might be other explanations for them.

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