Another day for former AIB assistant manager Philip Murphy. Certainly some curious things are coming up. Transcript here.
One thing that stands out is that when Murphy went over the review of the loan with Ahern in 1995, and an application form was finally filled out (in May 1995, 18 months after Ahern had got the money), Ahern made some rather startling claims. This includes the claim that he was the owner of St Luke’s, when it is apparently owned by a trust established by Des Richardson.
First, the conversation either took place in the O’Connell street branch, in St Lukes, or on the phone.
The form gave the following details. We have probably all filled out loan applications so you get the idea.
Name: Bertie Ahern
Address: St Luke’s, 161 Lower Drumcondra Road
Number of years at address: 8 years
Dependent children: 2, aged 14, 16
Residential status: owner blank, tenant blank, parents blank
If owner, value of house: £90,000 (referring to St Luke’s)
Employment: TD, public representative Fianna Fail
Employer’s name and address: Fianna Fail
Years in present employment: 20
Gross income: Party Leaders Allowance £200k plus TD salary
Regular monthly income after tax : expenses 20k plus 18k? (This bit is vague about what they are referring to, outgoings or incomings)
Frequency of payment: monthly
Other accounts held: Irish Permanent, balance £5k (actual balance was £32,424.23)
AIB, current account (overdraft, £21,896DR)
AIB deposit £22,384 credit
AIB current £3,010 credit
Credit cards: Visa, American Express
Other borrowings: Nil
Purpose of loan: Marriage seperation (note written by Murphy that the loan must be cleared over eight months from deposit acc)
After going through this, counsel gets stuck into Murphy. Murphy is wondering why an SSA was approved on the 23rd, but no money was handed over on that day.
He is hinting that a back-to-back loan (read money laundering) was taken out on the 23rd and that Ahern brought £15,000 in cash, a £5,000 bank draft and a £2,500 cheque into the bank on the 23rd, the same day he took out a loan for almost £20,000.
Murphy denies this, saying Ahern called him on the 30th and said he wanted to lodge “a few bob”, and that this was physically done on the 30th. Why then was the declaration for the SSA application done on the 23rd?
Anyway, on the 30th, Ahern comes into the branch. He sits across the table from Murphy. He takes £15,000 cash out of his pocket, and hands it to Murphy. That’s from someone on less than £40,000 a year. Then he handed over the draft and cheque. Murphy says he would have counted the money in front of Ahern, but can’t remember what the denominations were. He then passed the money on to a teller.
The bank draft was made payable to Des Richardson, and is signed on the back by him. Both that and the cheque are dated December 22nd. The cheque is drawn on the account of Willdover Limited, signed by Des Richardson.
Apparenty, Murphy believes he went to school with Richardson, but not in the same class, and knew him well enough to salute him on the street, but “not to for a pint with”.
Judge Keys then makes a suggestion. Since the bank account numbers are ordered, why not just look at the chronology of other accounts opened to see what date the SSA was actually opened, the 23rd or the 30th.
Documentation shows the lodgments of the monies was made on the 30th, but the legal declaration required for SSAs was signed on the 23rd.
After lunch, the questioning moves on to the lodgment by Ahern of £30,000 into the same branch on the 25th of April 1994 – just four months after lodging the money outlined above.
Murphy got a call from Ahern, who said he wanted to open an account “for the girls”. He said he had money in a safe. Murphy offered to go to St Luke’s. He suggested to Ahern he put it into an account, by topping up his SSA. SSA’s cannot go above £50,000.
Ahern opened the safe behind him, and handed the cash to Murphy. It was probably in an envelope. Murphy counted right there in front of Ahern, but can’t remember the denominations – but it was easy to carry. Ahern said he had saved it, and then said he had more – in a safe in Government buildings. He said to Ahern it was ridiculous to keep the money in a safe. The extra over and above the 50k was to go into the current account. He left the form for opening accounts for “the girls” with Ahern.
On August 8th, in St Luke’s again, Murphy sat outside Ahern’s office. He was there to collect money to lodge to an account for the girls. He was called into the office and was given £20,000. Murphy encouraged him to open a Retail Deposit Account. He is sketchy on whether it came from the safe, and again on the denominations. Murphy again counted out the cash in front of Ahern. He also collected the forms, he thinks.
Murphy then proceeded to put the £20,000 into the worst interest paying account, despite it being for “the girls'” education. The money was withdrawn from this account on October 13th into a retail deposit account, which pays better interest.
That was basically it, next we have Des Richardson.