Bolger tells of £64,000 Dunlop filly deal

TOP trainer Jim Bolger told the Mahon Tribunal yesterday a thoroughbred filly he sold to lobbyist Frank Dunlop for nearly £64,000 in 1992, broke her neck in collision with another horse on his stud farm the following year.

He said he selected the animal and had it registered with Weatherbys Ireland. No passport was then required for the unnamed animal and he did not issue any sale documents to Mr Dunlop.

“She collided with her partner the following year and she broke her neck and died,” said Mr Bolger.

Asked what became of Mr Dunlop’s investment, he replied: “He lost his money; the filly was dead.”

Questioned by tribunal lawyer Patricia Dillon SC, Mr Bolger said he did not know if the foal registration certificate was returned to Weatherbys to say the animal had died.

Asked about the “paperless nature” of his transaction with Mr Dunlop, Mr Bolger said: “I would not be into writing letters and confirming things. In our business there is a lot of trust; Frank trusted me. We would not be into putting things on paper.”

Replying to Judge Mary Faherty, Mr Bolger agreed it would have been better if Mr Dunlop had insured the animal, but there was a low mortality in his stud farm.

Ms Dillon produced a document showing his assets that Mr Dunlop drew up for his bank in July 1992 recording a £22,000 share in a horse. In November that year he listed a £20,000 with “Jim B” among his assets.

Last October when Mr Dunlop gave evidence, tribunal chairman Judge Alan Mahon cast doubt on the lobbyist’s claim to have bought a foal from Mr Bolger for £64,000 — the equivalent of €200,000 in today’s money.

Mr Dunlop had claimed he had forgotten about buying the horse and losing his investment.

The tribunal chairman then said Mr Dunlop’s evidence on the transaction gave rise to “a significant degree of suspicion that warrants very close questioning” of both him and Mr Bolger.

Mr Dunlop had described how he had forgotten he owned a horse, admitting he could not now say whether he had bought a horse in 1992, or “part of a horse”. During a conversation the transaction had been prompted by Mr Bolger and Mr Dunlop himself knew nothing about horses.

He said he had never seen the animal and received no documentation relating to the transaction. Mr Bolger later told him the unnamed animal was fatally injured, breaking its neck in 1993.

Records show Mr Dunlop withdrew £40,000 from his offshore Xerxes bank account in Jersey in March 1992 and had it lodged to Mr Bolger’s bank account in Newbridge, Co Kildare. A second payment of £23,917.81 was made to a bank account held by Mr Bolger in May 1992.

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