Did MP’s letters to Secretary of State help nobble developer..?

THE Sheridan Group’s High Court judicial review of the Government decision to block its development plans for the Queen’s Quay site close to the River Lagan should be worth watching.

After the DUP’s Peter Robinson used parliamentary privilege to accuse the company of a connection to “IRA dirty money” (which it denies) the company’s bid was subject to a “due diligence” accounts review process. Sheridan’s lawyer says the company charged with carrying this out for the Government was “pressured”, but, according to David Gordon’s story, had not changed its mind.

It wasn’t divulged in court from what it’s mind hadn’t been changed from. But the Government initiated a second review, by Deloitte, so draw your own conclusions. After this “DSD said that it and Laganside had concluded that they could not “properly form an opinion” on Sheridan’s ability to deliver the project and so could not enter into a development agreement”.

It will certainly be interesting to learn what Finance Minister Peter Robinson wrote to then Secretary of State Peter Hain on the matter, given that Sheridan’s “preferred developer” status was subsequently withdrawn, despite the police telling company chairman Curistan that neither he nor his company were under investigation.

IIRC, Robinson never repeated his claims outside the legal safehouse of the House of Commons, presumably in order not to leave himself open to a libel action from Peter Curistan, who expressed his anger at the situation in January.