Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern has gone on television to explain why he is currently under investigation in an anti-corruption probe. He is accused of taking gifts when finance minister over a decade ago: “I haven’t paid the money back because they refused to take it. I think they will now because they will see the difficulties it created, but I offered a number of times to repay it. I also had to pay off other bills and so the money I’d saved was gone. My friends knew that.”
Fortunes were made in Dublin in the 80’s and 90’s as the city was re-zoned and developed. Ahern entered politics, and was a minister under Charles Haughey, who died this year in disgrace after admitting pocketing millions of euros. Ahern insists he has done nothing illegal, and the money was loans from groups of friends, with interest.