High Court told Finance Minister was “the voice piece” for developer…

AN astonishing claim was made in the High Court yesterday. A lawyer for the Department of Social Development said the department believes Finance Minister’s Peter Robinson’s allegations that developer Sheridan Group was involved in IRA money laundering are “ill-judged and unfounded”.

This is similar to the view of the police and NIO, but the barrister for DSD went even further stating that Sheridan boss Peter Curistan (pictured) believes that Mr Robinson acted as “the voice piece of a commercial trading rival” who was disappointed at losing out on the Queen’s Quay contract.

The lawyer also claimed that in letters to the department from Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and SDLP leader Mark Durkan it was suggested that Robinson was motivated by “commercial rivalry”.

This is incredible stuff; Curistan’s case is being taken against DSD, not Robinson, yet here we have one branch of the Stormont government repeating highly damaging allegations against one of its most senior members – when normally you’d expect a government to defend all its constituent parts to the hilt.

DSD is quite prepared to lay into the Minister in charge of the Department of Finance for accusations made in a previous life – and at a time when the relationship between another DUP minister and a property developer is causing massive controversy. The Minister for Social Development is, coincidentally, the SDLP’s Margaret Ritchie. The case is expected to wind up today, so there might be more on this to come.

  • DC

    Gonzo you seem to be able to wind me up the most. Don’t get me started on the DUP, legal challenges and contradictions.

    Mr Robinson, Finance Minister, who recently took to the floor of the Assembly ranting about legal challenges to other ministers decisions when he himself has already one outstanding as a result of his own actions.

    If this is successful surely the fees will be hefty, more so than any challenge over the UDA decision you would think?

  • Nevin

    “I never believed we would see the day when a hardline republican would sit on the board of seven companies based in a British crown colony. Mr Mackin has spent his life fighting to remove the British from Ireland. But it seems the empire has its uses, elsewhere. What a cocktail.” … Indo.

  • steve

    That indo piece is a complete hatchet job based totally on inuendo.

    He doesnt have any facts but that doesnt keep him from determining their guilt

    I see why some people question anything published in the indo

  • Mick Hall

    This story in any normal society would grow the legs of an Olympic sprinter, not in the north it seems and why would it, as the Stormont administration is every political crooks dream. A government that has the veneer of democratic accountability that cannot be voted out of office. No wonder the brown envelope men are lining up in the drive of Stormont to entice ministers within the administration.

    What you have here is a story that should knock Mr and Mrs Canoe man off the front pages. A senior minister whose party is slipping into the pockets of property developers who have eyed the UKs latest lucrative property boom. The richest Irish republican in history, the high court and a government department who are willing to go against the minister in a court case, that must be a first in itself, plus tax bolt holes in a British protectorate which in itself should bring a smile to the British security services.

  • Dec

    Today’s Bible Lesson, brought to you by the Elim Pentecostal Church:

    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

  • wary35

    And wait until the press gets hold of the collusion between DRD and Mr O driscoll bidding for the Rathlin Ferry Tender.
    Actualy went as far as approaching c-Mal (subsidiary company of Calmac who currently run and have retendered for the route) to buy a boat for him.(DOH)
    Calmac started to ask questions and despite the DRD making arrangements on 29/11/07 to announce the successful bidder on 08/12/07, they suddenly abandoned the tendering process!!!
    They stated that “the panel concluded that none of the bids offered a most economically advantageous solution in terms of affordabilty and compliance with requirement”.

    Oh and the departmrnts Marine consultanlt was present at a meeting with another vessel owner when an attempt was made to purchase it.
    So far the Department are trying to cover up and apparently “do not want this to get as far as parliamentary questions”
    Ahem, Calmc owned by Scottish Executive, who are probably not the clowns we have here!!!

  • Outstanding in my field

    Sinead – now that sounds interesting!!!!!!

  • DC

    In it for themselves.

    An Englishman’s home is his castle, well didn’t Robinson slice off some of his home for profit to make more cash at a time when he seems to be clambering to get even more from other sources.

    Likely the Paisley’s taught him all he knows.

    It all makes sense now.

    In it for themselves.


    Is anyone suggesting that Peter Robinson has inappropriate ties to property developers?

    I hope not.

  • Nevin

    Steve, it looks as if the Irish Times had their hands on this hatchet too:

    “Century City is controlled by Belfast businessman Peter Curistan through a British Virgin Islands entity called Sheridan Developments BVI.”

  • Clonakilty

    Take a look at the BDO Stoy Hayward report into Sheridan Group and you’ll se Curistan hasn’t got a leg to stand on.

  • Rapunsel

    BDO Stoy Hayward. Christ don’t get me started on them. Barely competent in my experience. Everyone knows any review by an external accountancy firm only states what those commissioning it want it to. In that context the allegation that it was Mr Robinson’s actions that scuppered the deal are in my view spot on. DSD needed a way out

  • PeaceandJustice

    Are Peter Curistan and Lech Walesa related? There is a definite resemblance!

    We should have a full review of a number of companies to check for links with Sinn Fein IRA dirty money. However, I can’t see it happening. The Government and the DUP wouldn’t want to expose the activities of the SF IRA gangsters given those same gangsters are now in power. For example, we never hear the DUP talking about the Northern Bank money anymore. They’ve obviously decided that SF IRA should keep the money. Although, if SF IRA keep up their campaign against the DUP in relation to property developers, perhaps that situation will change.

  • Mark McGregor

    Robbo’s statement and the subsequent dropping of Sheridan seems to have been based on an initial Indo report on his business links with Dessie Mackin not any facts. Unfortunately for the DSD, even the PSNI and NIO have accepted Curistan’s integrity.

    However, we end up with a northern Finance Minister who has been exposed as an abuser of Parliamentary privilege who will never face sanction over the falsehoods the RUC say he peddled remaining irremovable in office and now willing supported by SF.

  • Harry Flashman

    Is this Curistan chap Lech Walesa’s long lost twin brother?

  • Nevin

    Never on a Friday‘ Curistan’s little local difficulty in Bournemouth

    But Bournemouth Borough Council has said that to buy the leasehold from Northern Ireland Local Government Officers Superannuation Committee (Nilgos), would mean a council tax rise to residents of about five per cent.

  • spiritof07

    Rapunsel you are arguing against yourself. “Everyone knows any review by an external accountancy firm only states what those commissioning it want it to”

    but in this case DSD wanted off a hook with Curistan and BDO didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. thats why they turned to Deloitte and Touche and got them to give them the ‘right’ answer – BDO refused to (as far as i understand this case)

  • Nevin

    Will Conor Murphy give Belfast Harbour Commissioner post to Curistan?

  • wary35

    they might have nore to worry about today in the DRD!!!!

  • wary35

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    By Lesley-Anne Henry

    The Department of Regional Development has been urged to reassure residents of Ulster’s only inhabited island that a vital lifeline is not in jeopardy – after it failed to find a new ferry operator.

    Concerns were raised after the DRD abandoned the tendering process to find a company for Ballycastle to Rathlin route last month.

    In a statement last night the department said none of the applications for the five-year contract were “economically advantageous”.

    Despite receiving “a number” of tenders since competition opened in April the department abandoned competition on November 29.

    Chairman of Moyle District Council Madeline Black said DRD must act immediately to allay people’s fears.

    She said: “The council is disappointed that the current tendering process has failed to produce a result.

    ” We would want to be assured by the department that there will be a new contract in place for April 2008.”

    The contract, which is up for renewal in April 2008, has been held by Rathlin Ferries, a subsidiary of the Scottish Executive-owned David MacBrayne. During 2007-08 Calmac received a DRD subsidy of £450,000.

    In a statement the DRD said it was their intention to re-advertise the tender.

    It read: “The DRD has decided to abandon the current competition to provide the Rathlin Island to Ballycastle ferry service which closed on October 11, and to re-tender on a revised basis.

    “The department had received a number of bids from interested operators but following tender evaluation, the selection panel advised that none of the bids offered a most economically advantageous solution in terms of affordability and compliance with the service requirement.

    “In the light of this, the department is reconsidering its approach and the tender will be re-advertised in the near future, with a view to an award of contract by April 2008.”

    DRD was expected to meet representatives from Rathlin Ferries today to discuss why their bid fell short.

  • wary35

    oh no!!!!