Mr. Haughey is to stand trial at the Circuit Criminal Court, charged with obstructing the McCracken Tribunal. Mr. Haughey appeared in the Dublin District Court this morning, where submissions were made by his legal team, that the case should not go forward for trial.
However, a short time ago, after one and a half hours of legal submissions by the defence and the state, District Judge Thomas Fitzpatrick, said that there was sufficient evidence of obstruction for the case to be heard. Mr. Haughey, who declined to comment after the proceedings, was released on a nominal bail of £100. Judge Fitzpatrick sent the case forward to the present sittings of the Circuit Criminal Court.
In a separate development, the Moriarty Tribunal has been hearing how former Minister for Health John O’Connell transferred money from an Arab businessman for Charles Haughey through his own personal bank account. The businessman, a brother-in-law of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, supposedly bought a horse from Mr. Haughey for £50,000.
At a dinner in London in 1985, Mr. Fustok told Dr O'Connell he owed Charles Haughey £50,000. He asked him to pass the money on to Mr. Haughey but did not explain what it was for. Dr. O'Connell said today that he cannot remember if he was given a cheque or bank draft or who it was made out to. When he rang Mr. Haughey about the matter, his party leader asked no questions: he simply said "make it out for cash". Dr. O'Connell wrote a cheque for £50,000 made out for cash, drawn on his own bank account.
Tribunal lawyers then put it to the former minister that from the public's point of view, there was a huge air of unreality about the transaction. Dr. O'Connell said that at the time there were no tribunals, and that it did not puzzle him. He now admitted the transaction was unusual. He said that Mr. Fustok had recently confirmed to him that the money was to pay for a racehorse. Mr. Fustok told him he had heard about Mr. Haughey's troubles and said the Irish people seemed to be very cruel. He asked Dr. O'Connell to pass on his regards to the former Taoiseach.
Dr. O’Connell first met Mr. Fustok, at his son's graduation in the College of Surgeons. Mr. Fustok regularly visited here to attend Goffs Bloodstock sales and their friendship developed. It was Dr. O Connell who first introduced the diplomat to Eimear Haughey and she invited Mr. Fustok to Kinsealy. During the course of his evidence Dr. O’Connell spoke of how Mr. Fustuk wanted his brother-in-law, the Crown Prince, to visit Ireland and Mr. Haughey arranged a state visit lasting five days. Explaining his friend’s wealth, Dr. O’Connell said that he lost £178m pounds.
An executive of the Doyle Hotel Group gave evidence earlier to the Moriarty Tribunal about a loan taken out by the group founder, P.V. Doyle for the benefit of Charles Haughey. George Carville told the tribunal that he had a vague recollection of being told about the loan, but he understood that it was to be repaid by the former Taoiseach.
However, shortly after P.V. Doyle's death in 1988, Charles Haughey's financial adviser, Des Traynor, asked to meet Doyle Group executives in the Berkeley Court Hotel. Mr. Traynor told them there was £150,000 outstanding on the loan and there was not "a hope in hell" of it being repaid. The debt was subsequently cleared by Mr. Doyle's widow.