Northern Ireland

Nama: Finance minister to answer questions on coaching allegations

Mairtin O'Muilleoir Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Mr O'Muilleoir will answer questions about the Nama coaching scandal

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir will be questioned over what he knew about secret contacts between a former Sinn Féin MLA and a loyalist blogger.

Mr Ó Muilleoir is due to appear before Stormont's finance committee, where he will answer questions about Nama coaching allegations.

These saw the committee's former chairman Daithí McKay resign as an MLA.

It was revealed Mr McKay secretly advised Jamie Bryson ahead of his appearance at the Nama inquiry.

Before he became a minister, Mr Ó Muilleoir was one of the Sinn Féin members on the Stormont finance committee when it held a high-profile inquiry into the controversial sale of Nama's NI property portfolio.

In August, Mr Ó Muilleoir denied knowing anything about a back channel of communication between Mr McKay, and the inquiry's key witness, Mr Bryson.

BBC News NI's Political Editor Mark Devenport

Detectives from the PSNI's serious crime branch are investigating the coaching allegations to see if any criminal offences were committed.

Whilst the police investigation is under way, the Assembly's Standards Commissioner Douglas Bain has suspended his own inquiry into complaints about Mr McKay.

However, the current finance committee is expected to press ahead with its scheduled evidence session on Wednesday afternoon.

He has also stood firm in his post amid calls for him to step down.

Nama is the Republic of Ireland's "bad bank" which was established in 2009 in the aftermath of the Irish banking and property crisis.

It took effective control of a huge property loan book in Northern Ireland and formed a committee to advise on that part of its portfolio.

Nama sold its entire Northern Ireland portfolio to Cerberus, a US investment fund, in 2014.

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