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CHEQUEMATE!; Haughey fails in bid to protect secrets of his lavish lifestyle.

DISGRACED former Taoiseach Charles Haughey must reveal the source of his wealth.

He failed yesterday in his legal battle to protect the secrets of his lavish lifestyle.

The 72-year-old ex-Fianna Fail boss was dealt the blow by the Supreme Court.

The court decided that the Moriarty Tribunal, set up to get to the bottom of Mr Haughey's massive wealth, should go ahead.

It disagreed with the former Taoiseach's arguments that the probe is not constitutional.

However, Mr Haughey won a significant victory when the five judges rapped the tribunal for gaining access to his bank accounts.

Chief Justice Liam Hamilton said investigators should have informed the shamed leader and members of his family that they were to examine the accounts.

He said the Haugheys should have been given a chance to make legal submissions on the move and the 36 court orders allowing tribunal staff to view the accounts.

The court also told the inquiry that it could not use the financial information it had learned from the trawl.

The decision leaves the tribunal team facing the prospect of tracing the money trail all over again.

Mr Haughey had challenged the inquiry's right to investigate his affairs along with his wife Maureen, daughter Eimear and sisters Eithne and Maureen.

Last April they lost their case before Mr Justice Hugh Geoghegan in the High Court but appealed.

The court blow for the former Taoiseach came just 48 hours before his biggest legal challenge in the Dublin District Court tomorrow.

Mr Haughey has been summonsed on two charges of obstructing the course of the Dunnes Payments Tribunal.

Revelations at that probe led directly to the setting up of the Moriarty Inquiry to get to the bottom of his secret wealth.

His refusals to confirm that he received pounds 1.3 million from retail tycoon Ben Dunne have landed him in court.

Mr Haughey faces two years in jail or a pounds 10,000 fine arising from the charges and is expected to appear personally before the court.

It is understood that the case will be adjourned on Thursday.

The Moriarty Tribunal will continue its investigations despite the court setback, but may not now begin full hearings until next year.

It has already taken hundreds of statements and scrutinised several bank accounts.

Recent reports also suggested that the team may have uncovered an additional pounds 250,000 paid to Mr Haughey by Ben Dunne.

It is believed that the retail tycoon was unaware of the destination of the cash which was passed via several complex financial transactions into the controversial Ansbacher Accounts in the Cayman Islands.

The probe will also inquire into the financial affairs of former Transport Minister Michael Lowry.
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Author:Leslie, Neil
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 29, 1998
Words:448
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