DUP minister Arlene Foster has said that she did not reveal details of Jim Allister’s brother-in-law’s will to her party leader.
Mrs Foster confirmed that she was the solicitor who had drawn up the will but stressed: “That’s as far as it goes.”
Peter Robinson wrongly accused Mr Allister of having been the executor of the will and then selling land to republicans, something the TUV leader vigorously rejected.
In a later statement setting out his side of the story, Mr Allister mentioned that the will had been drawn up with Mrs Foster, who at that time was a practising solicitor.
But, speaking to her local newspaper, the Impartial Reporter, Mrs Foster said: “Yes I was the solicitor, yes I made a will, but that’s where it ends.”
She said that the story had been “running right across Northern Ireland” prior to Mr Robinson highlighting it and, asked if she had passed the details to Mr Robinson, said: “Well it wasn’t me.”
The Fermanagh MLA added: “In any event, if it had been me who told Peter Robinson, I would have told him correctly who the executor was.”
Mrs Foster said that she had not spoken to Mr Robinson about the controversy in recent days.
Meanwhile, Mr Allister yesterday released a letter from the solicitor involved in handling his late brother-in-law’s estate. The TUV leader said: “Lest there is anyone left who believes Mr Peter Robinson’s scurrilous allegations against me, I am publishing a letter received from the solicitor administering the estate.”
In the letter, solicitor Neil Ferguson said that he was “happy to confirm” several facts.
Among the facts which he clarified were: Mr Allister was not the executor of the will, he was not a beneficiary under the will, he had “not been involved in any way in the disposal of any assets” of his late brother-in-law and the will specified that the dead man’s property should be sold.