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Ahern denies casino scheme had his 'implicit approval'

3 December 2007

DUBLIN, Ireland -- As reported by the Irish Times: "Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern has dismissed claims that he gave implicit approval to the National Lottery to enter talks with Manchester businessman Norman Turner about becoming involved in his plans for a casino in Dublin.

"Mr Ahern was minister for finance at the time of the talks in the early 1990s and had political responsibility for the lottery. The contacts did not lead to a formal deal between the lottery and Mr Turner's group Sonas, whose plans for the site of the former Phoenix Park racecourse were backed by US casino firm Ogden.

"The rejection of the claims by Mr Ahern's spokesman conflicts with the account of former National Lottery chairman John Hynes, who said last night that he would not have entered talks without implicit approval..."

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