‘Digout Des’ Digs Himself in Deeper

November 25, 2007 at 9:27 pm 2 comments

It now seems that up to one third of the £22,500 ‘digout’ money that Bertie Ahern got in December 1993 may have come indirectly from a Fianna Fail cheque that Ahern signed for his friend ‘Digout Des’ Richardson. On Friday I described how £2,500 came through this route. But between £2,000 and £5,000 more may also have come indirectly from the same Fianna Fail cheque.

Bizarrely, this seems intended to cover yet another cheque for £6,050, that was held somewhere for four months and was then presented to the bank in such a tattered condition that the bank rejected it. Here are the details, based on last Friday’s evidence to the Tribunal by Digout Des. It’s a fascinating insight into the world of business and politics in 1993 Ireland. >>>

Where did the £5,000 come from?

  • On December 22, 1993, Bertie Ahern signed a Fianna Fail cheque for Digout Des for £18,744, as payment for fundraising.
  • This enabled Digout Des to clear an overdraft on one of his accounts, and left £10,172 in the account.
  • Digout Des seems to have given £7,500 of this to Ahern’s digout fund: £2,500 in a cheque made out to cash, and £5,000 in a bank draft made out to himself.

What did this £5,000 represent?

  • Digout Des says that the £5,000 was a personal contribution from NCB stockbroker Padraic O’Connor to Bertie Ahern, who was a friend of his, and that he (Digout Des) paid it by way of a bank draft in his own name because NCB wanted confidentiality.
  • However, Padraic O’Connor says that it was not a personal donation to Bertie Ahern, and that he was not a friend of Bertie Ahern. He says instead that Digout Des asked NCB to be one of various companies that would give a political contribution to Bertie Ahern’s constituency office.

How did NCB pay the money?

  • On December 14, 1993, a company called Euro Workforce sent an invoice to NCB stockbrokers for £5,000 plus VAT, to prepare a health and safety survey of the NCB offices in Mount Street.
  • This was a false invoice, for work that was never done, and was for up to ten times the amount typically charged for such a survey.
  • Padraic O’Connor says that this false invoice was issued in order to enable NCB to indirectly pay money to Bertie Ahern’s constituency work.
  • Padraic O’Connor says that, having received the false invoice, NCB posted a cheque for £6,050 to Euro Workforce.

Who are Euro Workforce?

  • When Digout Des was on the Board of the Health and Safety Authority, he set up a company called Workforce, and negotiated a contract with AIB to do health and safety surveys for AIB.
  • Digout Des later sold Workforce to another director of the company, and it changed its name to Euro Workforce.
  • Digout Des says that, from then, he was no longer involved with the company, but still did work for them and got paid by them.

What does Digout Des say about this invoice?

  • He says that he had never seen this invoice before the Tribunal showed it to him.
  • He says that he didn’t know that NCB had sent £5,000 plus VAT to Euro Workforce.

How then did Digout Des get the £5,000, if not through Euro Workforce?

  • He doesn’t know / cannot remember.

When did Euro Workforce lodge the NCB cheque?

  • NCB sent the cheque on December 15, 1993.
  • Euro Workforce did not attempt to lodge it until March 3, 1994.
  • At that stage it was in such a tattered condition that the bank rejected it.
  • NCB issued another cheque on March 16, 1994.
  • Euro Workforce lodged this cheque on March 23, 1994.

Is this not getting very confusing?

You haven’t heard the half of it.

  • Euro workforce had a factoring arrangement with their bank. Once they issued the false invoice, the bank gave them 75% of the money immediately, and gave them the balance when the cheque came in.
  • So Euro Workforce immediately got 75% of £6,050, on the basis of showing their bank a false invoice to NCB for work that was never done, even though the money only reached their account four months later.
  • This enabled Euro Workforce to transfer £3,000 to Digout Des on December 15th 1993, which of course was for unspecified work that he did for them.
  • This could cover £3,000 of the £5,000 that Digout Des used to buy the bank draft for Bertie Ahern, leaving the other £2,000 covered by the Fianna Fail cheque Bertie signed for Digout Des.
  • But Digout Des says this payment is unrelated to the digout money, so that would mean that the entire £5,000 came indirectly from the Fianna Fail cheque signed by Bertie.

To Be Continued…

The Tribunal will continue to question Digout Des this week.

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Entry filed under: Ireland, News, Politics.

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A blog by Michael Nugent

Welcome to my blog about living in the maddest country on earth. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohemians football club in the 1970s.

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Bionic Bohs

As mentioned above, if you like Irish football and/or cultural nostalgia, I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohs in the 1970s.

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