Burke faces corruption charges

DISGRACED former minister Ray Burke faces possible criminal charges for corruption on top of a 2 million tax bill he has received from the Criminal Assets Bureau. If found guilty he faces up to seven years in prison or a hefty fine.

The CAB could bring charges after the successful prosecution last week of former council official George Redmond for corruption.

Mr Burke has less than a month to appeal the tax bill. The 2m bill is the result of a 14-month investigation by CAB into whether Mr Burke had paid tax and declared all his income.

The bill goes back to the 1980s and is thought to be based on offshore accounts held by him. Mr Burke can contest the demand and seek a settlement with the Revenue. He can also go through the courts if agreement is not reached.

If he contests the bill he will have to prove the demand is unfounded. However, if the court finds against him it can seize his assets if he is unable to pay in cash.

The interim report of the Flood Tribunal found the ex-Fianna Fáil TD had received corrupt payments over three decades. It concluded

He received at least £250,000 in corrupt payments in the 1980s.

It also found the former justice minister did not acquire his home at Briargate, Swords, Co Dublin, from developers Tom Brennan and Joe McGowan as part of a normal commercial deal. Mr Burke had claimed he paid £15,000 for the house in 1973, but no evidence was found that any money changed hands. Three years ago Mr Burke sold the house for 3.8m. The interim report found he received corrupt payments through his offshore accounts. A CAB team began investigating those accounts in September 2002. The interim report also found Mr Burke obstructed the work of the tribunal.

The DPP is still considering this finding in deciding whether or not to bring charges against Mr Burke.

Under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act, anyone convicted of hindering a tribunal can face a fine of up to 300,000 and/or a two-year prison term. There was no response to callers to Mr Burke’s home yesterday. Legal representatives for Mr Burke said they had no comment to make.

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