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Tuesday, October 6, 1998 Published at 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK

World: Europe

Former PM in court

Charles Haughey was Irish Prime Minister three times

The former Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey has appeared in court for a second time to answer charges relating to last year's Dublin inquiry into payments to politicians.

Mr Haughey, who was the republic's prime minister on three separate occasions, is alleged to have hindered and obstructed the work of the investigating tribunal.

At the latest hearing the Irish District Court adjourned proceedings pending the former Fianna Fail leader's indictment before Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court, probably next year.

Detective Superintendent Pat Breheny, of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, formally submitted a book of evidence against the 72-year-old politician.

Mr Haughey was served with summonses earlier this year following the inquiry's report, which declared parts of the evidence they heard from him to be "untrue and unacceptable".

The courtroom action has been taken under Ireland's Tribunal of Inquiries Act.

The maximum penalty is two years imprisonment and a fine of IR£10,000.

Last year, a tribunal found Mr Haughey had received gifts totalling IR£1.3m from former supermarket tycoon Ben Dunne, although he had initially denied he had received any money from the businessman.

Mr Haighey, who stepped down as prime minister in 1992, led the centrist Fianna Fail party for many years. It is now the biggest party in Ireland's ruling coalition.

Another tribunal is currently carrying out a more wide-ranging probe of other possible gifts Mr Haughey may have received during his political career.

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