How Much Irish Money Was in Ahern’s Safe?

December 19, 2007 at 1:56 am 1 comment

The fairy-tales that witnesses are telling the Tribunal are great fun, but let’s remember the common factor in four of the transactions. They each involve Bertie Ahern being unable to credibly explain lodgements to his accounts of exact round amounts in foreign currencies: two in 1994 that equate to £25,000 sterling and US$45,000, and two more in 1995 for £10,000 sterling and £20,000 sterling. The reason that the Tribunal knows about these amounts is because the money had to go through a bank to convert it into Irish currency, and the foreign exchange transactions created a paper trail that can be followed.

Some other lodgements also left paper trails – the so-called ‘first digout’ in 1993, and the ‘savings’ in 1994 that were supposedly already spent in 1993. But, apart from these transactions, only Ahern knows how much more Irish money was washing through his safe over the years, money that never saw the inside of a bank because, as Celia Larkin put it, Ahern ‘felt more comfortable’ dealing in cash. I think it is safe (no pun intended) to suggest that Ahern’s safe may have contained much more Irish money over the years than foreign money.

But there is no way that we will ever know how much. So, in the meantime, here are the details of the key transactions that we do know about: >>>

The 1994 Transactions

During 1994 Bertie Ahern denies that he lodged £25,000 sterling and US$45,000 into his bank accounts.

  • On Tuesday October 11, 1994, Ahern lodged IR£24,838.49 into his account. This amount equates exactly to £25,000 sterling based on bank exchange rates on that date, and on that day his bank branch took in over £25,000 sterling.

However, Ahern says that it was IR£16,500 cash that he got from four friends, including his good friend Paddy the Plasterer and a 28-year-old, Barry English, that had only met him three months previously, and £8,000 Sterling that he got from some millionaires that he had a meal with in Manchester, none of whom he can remember.

  • On Monday December 25, 1994, Celia Larkin lodged IR£28,772.90 into Ahern’s account. This amount equates exactly to $45,000 based on bank exchange rates on that date, and on that date the bank took in less that £2,000 sterling and over $45,000 in other currencies.

However, Ahern says that this was mostly about £30,000 sterling cash given to him in a briefcase by his soon-to-be landlord, Michael Wall from Manchester, who was also at the millionaires dinner in Manchester but wasn’t really there because he didn’t eat the dinner.

The 1995 Transactions

During 1995 Bertie Ahern accepts that he lodged £30,000 sterling into his accounts, in these two transactions:

  • On Thursday June 15, 1995, Celia Larkin lodged £11,743.34 into Ahern’s account. He says that this included £10,000 sterling cash.
  • On Friday December 1, 1995, Ahern lodged IR£19,142.92 into his account. He says that this was £20,000 sterling.

Ahern has tried to explain where he got this £30,000 sterling by saying that he had withdrawn IR£50,000 from one of his accounts in January 1995, and had used most of it to buy £30,000 sterling. He says that he kept this in a safe, then converted it back to Irish money and re-lodged it in the two transactions described above.

However, the bank has no record of selling £30,000 sterling to anybody during that period. When Ahern could not explain this, he said that he must have given the £30,000 to somebody else to convert it to Irish money, and that they might have carried out the transaction anywhere, but he can’t remember who he gave it to.

Other Transactions with Paper Trails

Three other Irish currency lodgements also created paper trails.

  • Ahern lodged IR£22,500 to a special savings account in December 1993, at the same time as he took out a loan of about the same amount to pay legal bills. He says this was ‘the first digout’ arranged by Des Richardson, part of which was covered by a false invoice to NCB stockbrokers for a health and safety survey that never happened.
  • And he lodged IR£30,000 in April 1994, and IR£20,000 in August 1994, which he says was from £50,000 that he had saved while he didn’t have a bank account – but he had previously told Brian Dobson on RTE that he had already spent all of these savings paying bills the previous year, which was why he needed ‘the first digout’.

The Money That Never Went Through Any Bank Account

Nobody knows.

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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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