Ahern's foreign exchange lodgments

Nowhere in the media have I seen this tabulation. It is a record of the transactions the Tribunal have postulated involved foreign exchange.

Property developer Tom Gilmartin has said that he had been told sometime in 1992 by Owen O’Callaghan that Bertie Ahern TD had been paid by Mr O’Callaghan the sum of £80,000 made up of £50,000 in 1989 and £30,000 on an unspecified date.

It should be remembered that Mr Ahern had no bank account in those years, only opening his first bank account in December 1993. So if he did receive cash bribes in Irish punts or foreign currencies then he would have had no bank accounts in which to lodge them.

There are four main foreign exchange lodgments:

* The £24,838.49 lodgment on October 11, 1994 equates to £25,000 Sterling
* The £28,772.90 lodgment on December 5, 1994 equates to $45,000 US dollars

* The £9,743.74 lodgment on June 22, 1995 equates to £10,000 Sterling
* The £19,142.92 lodgment on December 1, 1995 equates to £20,000 Sterling

The sterling lodgments equate to £55,000 Sterling (circa £53,000 punts)
The dollar lodgments equate to $45,000 US Dollars (circa £30,000 punts)

Added up, the foreign exchange lodgments amount to £82,498.05.

It’s a figure very close to the original allegation, isn’t it?

Hmm. It gets better. Let’s assume that O’Callaghan gave the £55,000 Sterling to Ahern in 1989. Obviously currencies fluctuate, so if it was his intent to give £50,000 Irish in 1989 then he would have had to have given more Sterling. In early 1990, the only figures I am able to find, the Sterling/Punt exhange rate was £1stg to £0.91 punts.

In 1989 therefore, £55,000 Sterling would equate to about £50,050 Irish, if we take that sample exchange rate.

Since the allegation for the £30,000 does not mention a date, except to say that it was in 1992 or before, I cannot check it against exchange rates. But if we assume that the exchange took place in the same year, 1989, then in early 1990, $1 bought you about £1.58 punts. That sample rate equals $48,400. Obviously if the exchange rate was about £1.50, then it would equate to $45,000 in 1989. I cannot check if this is the case.

Update: This website provides some tantalising data. In 1989 the US dollar exchnage rate was £1.41 on average. But in early 1990 it was £1.58. This leads me to believe that in 1989 it is entirely plausible that O’Callaghan bought $45,000 with £30,000 punts.

But since Ahern would have had to have been Minister for Finance we must limit our search to 1991 and 1992. Between April and October 1991, The US dollar traded a median price of £1.50. Between July and October 1992, it also traded at around that level. This provides us with two windows during which an exchange could have taken place with regard to the Golden Island tax designation, which Ahern signed in the dying minutes of the FF/Labour government in 1994.


I’ll put it simply. The totals of sterling and dollar lodgments to his accounts would equate exactly with the £80,000 Ahern is said to have received in 1989 currency values.

Of course, this is all just speculation.

But I do wonder is the Tribunal aware of these calculations.