[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 13:37 GMT
Ex-Irish PM Haughey 'took bribes'
Charles Haughey
Haughey's finances have been under suspicion for many years
Former Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey, who died this year, accepted bribes and followed unethical business practices, a tribunal has found.

The Moriarty Tribunal into Haughey's finances was launched in 1997.

Its 600-page report stated that the former premier was paid IR£50,000 (£42,000) by a Saudi sheikh to support passport applications.

It said he accepted cash from wealthy businessmen over a 17-year period, including eight years as Taoiseach.

Haughey served as prime minister three times between 1979 and 1992. He died in June aged 80, after a long battle with cancer.

Judge Michael Moriarty rejected Haughey's claim that he knew nothing about his finances. Secret payments had been handled by Haughey's accountant, using a bank in the Cayman Islands.

The judge said Haughey's claim that he had never heard of the Cayman Islands was "unbelievable".

Democracy 'devalued'

Correspondents said he was loved and loathed in almost equal measure.

But his finances were long a matter of suspicion.

He enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, despite not having a huge official income. He owned a yacht, his own island, race horses and a mansion.

The Moriarty inquiry said it had identified payments totalling £IR8.5m made to Haughey between 1979 and 1996.

Its report on Tuesday included a reference to money he received from Saudi Arabian diplomat and businessman Mahmoud Fustok, who it said paid IR£50,000 into one of Haughey's bank accounts in February 1985.

The report said the payment was made in a secretive and clandestine manner and connected to Mr Fustok's relatives' passport applications.

"Apart from the almost invariably secretive nature of payments from senior members of the business community, their very incidence and scale - particularly during difficult economic times nationally, and when governments led by Mr Haughey were championing austerity - can only be said to have devalued the quality of a modern democracy," the report concluded.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific