Arab Today, arab today exirish pm ahern lied about bank deposits
Last Updated : GMT 06:27:20
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Ex-Irish PM Ahern lied about bank deposits

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Arab Today, arab today Ex-Irish PM Ahern lied about bank deposits

Dublin - AFP

Ireland\'s former prime minister Bertie Ahern lied about bank deposits which led to his resignation, a landmark 15-year corruption probe concluded on Thursday. The Mahon Tribunal\'s investigation of the payments dating from the early 1990s prompted Ahern to quit office in May 2008 because he said the \"incessant publicity\" surrounding the probe made it impossible to do his job. The report, from the longest and most expensive public inquiry in Irish history, concluded that key aspects of Ahern\'s evidence were \"untrue\", although it did not accuse him of corruption. \"Much of the explanation provided by Mr Ahern as to the source of substantial funds identified and inquired into in the course of the tribunal\'s public hearings were deemed by the tribunal to have been untrue,\" it said in its 3,270-page report. Michael Martin, leader of Ahern\'s Fianna Fail party, said later Thursday he will propose a motion to expel the former prime minister at a special meeting of the party\'s national executive being called for next Friday. Martin expressed \"profound personal and professional regret\" at the report\'s findings, and accused Ahern of \"betraying the trust placed in him\" by the Irish people. Ahern, who came to power in 1997 and a year later helped seal the Good Friday agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland, has always denied there was anything improper about the series of cash payments. The deposits were made when he was finance minister and came at a time when he was separating from his wife. Ahern maintained the payments were from friends and associates in Ireland and England and said at the time he had \"never received a corrupt payment and I have never done anything to dishonour any office I have held\". The former leader vehemently denied the tribunal\'s conclusion that he had failed to \"truthfully account\" for deposits totalling 165,000 Irish pounds, equivalent to 210,000 euros ($275,000). \"That statement is unfair and inaccurate,\" he said in a statement published in the Irish Times. \"It is one that I cannot and I will never accept and I will continue to examine ways in which to vindicate my name.\" Because Ahern failed to give a true account about the source of the cash, the tribunal said it was unable to \"establish or exclude\" a connection between them and a property developer \"either directly or indirectly\". Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he was surprised by the findings of \"corrupt practices among a number of politicians\" and his government would consider the report. The findings have also been passed to the police. \"The tribunal speaks for itself -- a litany of unacceptable statements from the former taoiseach,\" Kenny said, using the Gaelic name for the premier. The report also found that Padraig Flynn, a former Irish minister and European Union commissioner, acted \"wrongfully and corruptly\" in 1989 when he sought a substantial donation for Fianna Fail, who are now in opposition, from a property developer. It found that the donation of 50,000 Irish pounds followed a \"circuitous route of withdrawals, investments and reinvestments\", but ultimately helped fund the purchase of a farm in the west of Ireland bought in Flynn\'s wife\'s name. The Mahon Tribunal was set up by parliament in 1997. It comprises three judges who have heard from 409 witnesses during more than 900 sittings. The final cost of the inquiry is expected to be around 250 million euros ($329 million). Ahern was nicknamed the \"Teflon taoiseach\" because allegations against him never stuck. He won three successive general elections and was one of the architects of Ireland\'s ill-fated economic boom. He helped seal the landmark 1998 Good Friday agreement that brought to an end 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland.

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