A billionaire businessman is said to have paid bribes to a former Irish government minister allowing him to win a highly lucrative mobilephone licence, according to the report of a corruption tribunal in Dublin, which was 14 years in the making, and was estimated to cost £217 million.

The tribunal, which was headed by Mr Justice Moriarty, concluded that the former minister for communications, Michael Lowry, had "irregular interactions" before the government licence was awarded. The report stated that it was beyond doubt that while the licence was under confidential consideration by civil servants, the minister gave the businessman "substantive information of significant value and assistance to him in securing the licence".

Denis O’Brien, a businessman with a global communications network, is listed as the 254th wealthiest person in the world. In connection to the contracts that he won, he apparently made payments to Mr Lowry totaling £900,000. Mr O’Brien, vehemently denied the charges against him; he accused the Judge of making fundamental errors and said that he himself should be investigated.

The judge described Mr Lowry’s behaviour as “profoundly corrupt to a degree that was nothing short of breathtaking”.