Talks seek deal for Redmond to testify to tribunal


Lawyers for the key Flood tribunal witness, Mr George Redmond, are expected to meet the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) as early as today as pressure mounts for an agreement securing his co-operation with the tribunal.

Mr Redmond (74) attended talks, accompanied by his solicitor, with tribunal lawyers on Monday. Further meetings on the possibility of granting him some form of immunity are expected later this week. CAB detectives have also been in contact with tribunal lawyers about their separate investigations into Mr Redmond's affairs. Allegations that he received two large payments from builders are expected to be dealt with by the tribunal ahead of CAB investigations into the matter.

Mr Redmond, a former assistant Dublin city and county manager, is understood to be hoping for an early resolution of his difficulties, following his sensational arrest at Dublin Airport last Friday. The quickening pace of his contacts with the tribunal and the CAB has encouraged speculation that he may disclose crucial information on the matters under investigation in relation to planning in Co Dublin. As the de facto county manager for many years, there is little he does not know about the development of the region in the 1980s.

Mr Redmond attended part of yesterday's hearing in Dublin Castle, at which Mr James Gogarty's cross-examination was continuing. When the two men crossed paths outside the hall at the end of the hearing, he called out: "The two of us side by side, wouldn't that make a lovely picture, Jim?" Mr Gogarty declined the invitation.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Mr Redmond generally declined to comment on his weekend arrest by CAB officers and the seizure of £300,000 he had brought in from the Isle of Man. He said he was "dry" of comment, adding: "I don't need to say anything. Sure you'll make it all up". However, when asked why he told a Sunday newspaper 10 days ago that he had no bank account in the Isle of Man, he said: "Because it was closed by then".

At least some of the money Mr Redmond brought back from the Isle of Man seems to have originated in an Irish financial institution. Why he would have taken this out of the State is not clear.

Since his arrest, the pressure on Mr Redmond has increased considerably. After he was questioned for 12 hours about suspected tax offences, the CAB sent a preliminary report to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

If prosecuted, he could face a maximum of five years in jail under the relevant tax legislation.

He has been warned that if he does not co-operate, he could also be liable for legal costs incurred by the tribunal. He could also be charged for obstructing the work of the tribunal. This carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a fine of £10,000.

Before his arrest, Mr Redmond sought a guarantee from the tribunal that his legal costs would be covered. Now, however, he may be bargaining merely to avoid a possible jail sentence.