Ansbacher find cost Haughey €660,264

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Charles Haughey lost £520,000 (€660,264) when the Ansbacher Deposits were discovered by the McCracken (Dunnes Payments) tribunal in 1997, it emerged yesterday.

Accounts within the secret deposits coded S8 and S9 belonged to Mr Haughey and were frozen along with the rest of the deposits when they were discovered. The money in Mr Haughey’s accounts was subsequently used to settle the tax liabilities of another unnamed taxpayer, the tribunal heard.

The tribunal heard that during negotiations with Mr Haughey’s tax advisers in 2002, the Revenue was told that Mr Haughey did not have access to the accounts, that they were not in his name, and that they should be considered dormant.

On Thursday, principal officer with the Revenue, Norman Gillanders, said the money in the S8 and S9 accounts had been used to settle the tax affairs of another taxpayer. A document shown yesterday stated that the balance in the accounts in September 1997 was about £520,000.

The tribunal was yesterday hearing further evidence in relation to the performance of the Revenue in raising taxes from Mr Haughey. As part of its negotiations with Mr Haughey’s agents in 2002, the Revenue drafted a schedule of known expenditures and receipts by Mr Haughey over the period 1977 to 1997.

Principal officer with the Revenue, Brian McCabe, told Jacqueline O’Brien SC, for the tribunal, that the Revenue wanted to calculate a figure to assess Mr Haughey’s liability to gift tax.

Accountancy firms ran a bill paying service for Mr Haughey since the 1970s but he also spent money through other channels. The Revenue’s calculations arrived at various figures for total expenditure between 1977 and 1997, from a maximum of £9.9 million to a minimum of £6 million. The Revenue and Mr Haughey’s agents, in negotiations, arrived at a “core” figure of £6.9 million in expenditure and agreed this figure could be viewed as representative of the total gifts received by Mr Haughey over the period. Mr Haughey’s salary from politics over the period was not included in the calculations as Mr Haughey cashed his monthly cheques since the 1970s and did not bank the money.

Mr McCabe said accounts received by the Revenue had indicated that “severance payments” received by Mr Haughey when he retired from politics, were used to buy deer worth £71,000 in 1993. In fact, the Revenue now believed, the money for the deer came from the S9 Ansbacher account.

As part of the 2002 negotiations, Mr Haughey’s agents were asked how he had funded his purchase of a boat and a holiday island in Co Kerry in the late 1970s. They suggested the money could have come from Mr Haughey’s borrowings from AIB.

The agents also said they did not know how Mr Haughey funded his holidays and whether he had received any gifts since 1997. They also did not know how Mr Haughey funded his expenditure during the period 1977 to 1984. The agents also had no information about a sterling £400,000 loan Mr Haughey took out from Guinness Mahon Cayman Trust in the early 1980s.

The Revenue calculated that the total amount received by Mr Haughey in the 20 years from 1977 included £2.12 million from Ben Dunne between 1987 and 1992.

Mr Haughey agreed to pay £3.94 million in settlement and the money was raised by the transfer of lands at Kinsealy, Co Dublin, back to Mr Haughey from his children and its subsequent sale.

Mr McCabe said that from the perspective of the Revenue, the outcome was satisfactory.

Have a think about these figures, and think about how much houses and living cost and during those dates. These were massive sums of money. In 1985 you could buy a large house for £30-£40k. Charles Haughey spent £4.1 million through his bill-paying service in the years 1977 to 1997. And yet we are told nothing was given in return.

The spending through the service for the following years was:

1985 -£189,000

1986 -£176,000

1987 -£203,000

1988 -£232,000

1989 -£325,000

1990 -£264,000

1991 -£342,000

1992 -£336,000

1993 -£302,000

1994 -£316,000

1995 -£441,000

1996 -£274,000

1997 -£118,000