Haughey took from Lenihan funds

CHARLES HAUGHEY misappropriated at least £45,000 from funds raised to cover the late Brian Lenihan’s medical expenses and may, in fact, have taken as much as £194,000.

Mr Lenihan was Minister for Foreign Affairs when he underwent a liver transplant at the Mayo Clinic in the US in the run-up to the 1989 general election.

When it became apparent that the VHI would not meet the full costs involved, Mr Haughey decided money would be raised to pay the excess. But he also decided he would avail of the opportunity to benefit himself, the tribunal found.

He set a fundraising target of between £150,000 and £200,000, despite the fact he knew no more than £100,000 would be required to cover the remainder of Mr Lenihan’s bill.

“In his actions over the period leading up to and after the general election of June 1989, Mr Haughey demonstrated a clear and deliberate intention to use the opportunities provided by fundraising for Mr Lenihan and for the election campaign to advance his personal finances,” it said.

The tribunal found at least £265,000 may have been collected for the benefit of Mr Lenihan, although only Mr Haughey knew the full amount. Of these funds, no more than £70,283.06 went towards Mr Lenihan’s medical expenses.

“That apart, no other funds were provided directly or indirectly to Mr Lenihan, with the exception of a sum of £200 which Mr Haughey arranged to be transmitted to Ms Lenihan on the morning of her departure to the US with her husband,” the report said.

The tribunal could not say with certainty where all the excess money went, but said it was satisfied that “a sizeable proportion” of it was “misappropriated by Mr Haughey for personal use”.

It did establish that Mr Haughey misappropriated at least £45,000 of it, £20,000 provided by Dr Edmund Farrell, then chief executive of Irish Permanent Building Society, and £25,000 provided by Mark Kavanagh of Custom House Docks Development Ltd, the joint-venture company that had been awarded the contract to construct the International Financial Services Centre.

Mr Haughey then took another £75,000 provided by Mr Kavanagh for the Fianna Fáil election campaign and kept £25,000.

Mr Haughey also kept £60,000, which Dr Michael Smurfit had provided for the campaign, although the tribunal stated its view that Dr Smurfit “was, at least, indifferent as to the application of the funds contributed”.

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