In relation to the loan for almost £20k, and the fact that repayments did not start until 1995, Mr Ahern said:
“I… let the loan there until the bank came after me about it.” (Q520)
The money question is Q552. Counsel makes this assertion:
The reason the first digout was the the non-round figure of £22,500 was because it was a pre-planned back to back amount against the figure of £21,896.30 – the accumulated sum, inluding interest, in May 1995. It is not an unreasonable position to take.
AIB agreed with Ahern on the amount. Ahern sought the £22,500 from friends. The bank gave the loan. The authorisation for the the SSA was signed on December 14, not December 23.
Furthermore, the Tribunal is casting doubt on the existence of the cash savings. Why didn’t he lodge any of his savings until April? Why did he leave it four months after having opened the savings account, and the TSB account? The reason the Tribunal appears suspicious is because Ahern met O’Callaghan on April 13, 1994. On April 25, he lodged £30,000 cash.
Imagine for a moment that there were no savings up to and including the digout. Then this version of events seems entirely plausible.
Ahern had little or no savings. He needed to pay his legal bill. His friends, with his knowledge, did a whipround. He applied for a loan on the strength of that whipround. He got the loan, and paid fees. He lodged the whipround money to an SSA. Four months later he accepts a bribe from Owen O’Callaghan. He lodged the £30,000 bribe into the savings account that already had the whipround money, thus bringing it to £50,000.
That is the scenario that was put to Ahern.