Police called into investigate Iris Robinson for potential criminality…

Better late than never, but it seems that the Police have now come in to investigate Iris Robinson’s financial affairsThe BBC report that last night, a police spokesman said:

“Police can confirm that a criminal investigation has been launched into allegations made in a BBC Spotlight programme broadcast on 7 January 2010. The investigation will seek to establish whether any criminal offence has been committed by Iris Robinson, MP, MLA and by any other person referred to in the programme.

The investigation is led by Detective Chief Superintendent Roy McComb who is head of the Police Service’s Organised Crime Branch, which specialises in complex financial investigations. The police service is aware of the substantial public interest in this investigation. The police remit is to investigate potential criminality, nothing else.”

As ever be careful not step over the legal line here… potential is highlighted for good reason… The upshot for the political process is that such investigations may delay any parliamentary investigations, and there extend matters beyond than the six week respite put in place for the First Minister last Friday…

  • BryanS

    Hard to know where there could be any criminality involved. Might be a case for HMRC but little else. Seems all a bit un-necessary and a waste of police time.

  • J Kelly

    wasn’t that how al capone fell tax, the questions is has Pete the Punt ever lobbied for his friends in similar circumstances.

  • Framer

    Seems very thin grounds for a police investigation especially if no complaint was made.

    PSNI political correctness perhaps?

    The hugely expensive independent Castlereagh Council investigation (around £50,000 worth) has just started but presumably it and the House of Commons inquiry will have to be put on hold.

    Iris won’t be out of Robbo’s hair this side of the election.

  • alf

    This may well lead down several paths and get messy

  • Jaggers

    Interesting that the police will no doubt need to question Mrs Robinson who is currently indisposed. If Mrs Robinson is unable to provide her husband with answers to questions then presumably Mrs Robinson’s solicitors will object to her being questioned by the police who will in turn no doubt require evidence of her condition. This may be the first time that her condition is independently confirmed to the public and may put pay to the conspiracists who claim she’s been faking it.
    Separately, I hope that the police look at Mrs Robinson’s church (and indeed relatives and friends) when examining any alleged financial impropriety on Mrs Robinson’s part. There is no suggestion of wrong-doing on the part of the church or relatives and friends but the Westminster rules go beyond the person when looking at beneficiaries and a criminal investigation should too.

  • J Kelly

    If Iris, her family or her party are involved in criminality then its only right and proper that the autorities investigate. We need to have community confidence in the rule of law and in instituitions. There is no place for criminals in politics.

  • Mr Angry

    “no place for criminals in politics”

    Here’s me, wha?

  • Banjaxed

    Is it only me or has anyone else noticed that the minute the ‘talks’ look like collapsing, the plods move in? Mere coincidence or another attempt to knock heads together?

    Maybe, I should get out more and stop looking for conspiracies under the laptop.

  • BryanS

    It was noticeable when interviewed by the ‘hard hitting’ Eamonn M Mr R said he had never received a penny from anyone which he shouldn’t have. Does this mean he never arranged for anyone or anything else to get a donation in exchange for a bit of help? Pity Mr M’s ‘hard hitting’ questioning didn’t ask the obvious supplementary. Hard hitting, my a##.

  • It is not an unknown fact that novel churches and faith foundations etc make for very convenient laundries of fast/flash/loose cash and may even avoid taxation, too. And all you have to do is to Pimp a Creative Chaos and Orderly Mayhem and Offer Salvation and Redemption from an Invisible Being to the Easily Led and Intoxicated and Bullied, and you are in Business. Pull on a frock and a funny hat, and you are are a star. Jesus, how much simpler can it be to gather a flock of sheep.

    And indeed, is there not a present difficulty with some third party funds being lost/spent/gambled away in the Presbyterian Mutual Society, and who would have thought of that as a front behind which there were dodgy dealings and sharp practices, for money doesn’t disappear, it just gets transferred/laundered elsewhere in the Banking System. ……. which is where everything ends up. Does that mean that Banking is Crooked?

  • TAFKABO

    I mentioned it at the time but during the Spotlight programme a question was asked about money which was simply “handed over” and the person asked the question gave a very specific, obviously advised by a lawyer answer about how as far as they were concerned it was all above board.

  • Scaramoosh

    “DUP Environment Minister Edwin Poots has meanwhile revealed that Mrs Robinson made representations in the last six years on three planning applications involving the two developers who provided the £50,000 — Ken Campbell and the now deceased Fred Fraser.” Belfast Telegraph

  • BryanS

    Would Mrs R have had any converstaions over the breakfast table with her husband along the lines of-
    Well dear what are you doing today?
    Oh I might do a bit of shopping and then I will probably make some representations on planning issues for Fred.
    Fred who dear?
    Just a friend of mine, nobody important that you need to worry about pet(er).

  • Jaggers

    Scaramoosh, the Bel Tel article I read states

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/edwin-poots-rules-out-probe-into-lobbying-by-iris-robinson-14644863.html

    “In reply to the questions from Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay, Mr Poots cited three examples of his DUP colleague making representations on specific cases.”

    If the wording above is accurate, then the three cases were “examples” of the representations and consequently there could be more.

  • Davros

    I hear Carryduff is wonderful this time of year.

  • BryanS

    No shortage of houses but very little green belt!

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    I hope there will be some one at home to open the door.

    With Iris in for treatment and Peter flitting from meeting to meeting the plods may just kick in the door.

  • Rory Carr

    It is one of the oldest tricks in the book: in order to deflect blame away from any actual wrongdoing simply allow it to be demonstrated that you are not to blame for a much more serious wrong then bask in the light of reflected innocence as it shines out to blind all from sight ofyour actual transgression.

    The PSNI inquiry will find that there is no evidence to sustain a criminal charge, the headlines will scream, “ROBINSONS ARE INNOCENT!” and the DUP (with the possible exception of any aspirant replacement leaders) will hope that their base will swallow that to mean that they are innocent of everything (…well, except maybe the canoodling with Boy Kirk, that is much too fond an image to completely dispel).

  • Nordie Northsider

    What do the Klingon Empire and the Robinsons have in common?

    They were both shafted by Kirk’s Enterprise

  • Now in Tendring council in England, we find:

    “Police arrested the man at his home in the Clacton area on suspicion of soliciting a gift as a member of a public body in accordance with the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889.” See http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/4436577.Ex_council_chairman_in_corruption_probe/ and Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs of the year.

    So let’s take a look at that law. Search in bailii.org, under NI legislation and we find:

    “1.(1) Every person who shall by himself or by or in conjunction with any other person, corruptly solicit or receive, or agree to receive, for himself, or for any other person, any gift, loan, fee, reward, or advantage whatever as an inducement to, or reward for, or otherwise on account of any member, officer, or servant of a public body as in this Act defined, doing or forbearing to do anything in respect of any matter or transaction whatsoever, actual or
    proposed, in which the said public body is concerned, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

    So receiving a loan for another person is included. The question is whether it was an inducement to do something.

  • Rory Carr

    Very good, Nordie. I see that Private Eye this week in their Called to Ordure feature by ‘Gavel Basher’ suggest that “Glamourpuss Iris, 60, may be a ringer for the late Kenny Everett’s alter ego, Cupid Stunt…” (“All in the best pa-ahsible taste!”)

    http://is.gd/6Pbkc

    I couldn’t possibly comment.