Iris Robinson, the wife of the Northern Ireland’s First Minister, admitted having an affair with a 19 year-old man after questions were raised over her financial dealings.
As Mrs Robinson’s lover was named as Kirk McCambley, a 21-year-old cafe owner, it emerged she was facing allegations over a business venture she supported on his behalf.
The 60-year-old mother-of-three, an MP since 2001, admitted on Wednesday that she had a brief relationship 18 months ago with someone she had been supporting after a family death, and that her guilt led her to try to kill herself last March.
He was named by the BBC as Mr McCambley, a Catholic man, who was 19 at the time of the affair. He confirmed to the Spotlight Programme that he had an affair with the married woman.
It is understood that the lover set up his business in a building constructed by Castlereagh Borough Council, supported by the EU Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme and administered by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
It has emerged that 24 hours before the surprise announcement, a BBC documentary team had confronted her husband, Peter Robinson, at Stormont with questions about the couple's financial affairs.
Asked if he was confident that neither he nor his wife had done anything illegal, Mr Robinson said: "I am absolutely certain that everything I have done has been done as it should."
He continued: "I received a letter from an organisation within the BBC. It contained no allegation against me. The BBC asked questions that can be easily answered but there are no allegations that will stand."
As part of her statement in which she admitted the affair, Mrs Robinson said of her lover: "I encouraged friends to assist him by providing financial support for a business venture."
The BBC Spotlight programme, which was due to be broadcast within weeks but was brought forward to Thursday night, was fronted by investigative journalist Darragh McIntyre.
He went to Stormont on Tuesday posing several questions for the couple, which he had originally asked in a letter sent several weeks ago.
According to a statement on the council's website, the cafe, received a "full grant" of £1.617 million through the Heritage Lottery Landscape Partnership Scheme which started in November 2007.
The council said the Lottery funding restored the existing Lock Keepers cottage, developed species surveys, conservation, habitat enhancement, volunteer and community projects.
According to a statement issued through the council , Mr Kirk McCambley said: “When we first told friends about the opportunity, they said we were mad but the National Lottery and the Council could see the potential prosperity of the Park and so could Andrew and I.
"We knew there would by a desire for people to enjoy small simple pleasures in their otherwise hectic lives and that’s what they find in the Park and in the Lock Keepers Inn.”
The BBC said: "The Spotlight programme has been investigating matters involving Iris Robinson MP. This investigation has been ongoing for some time.
"In line with the BBC’s usual editorial processes and consistent with its editorial guidelines we have put the allegations to Iris and Peter Robinson and await their response. We have no further comment."
Nine days ago Mrs Robinson, MP for Strangford and a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, said she was quitting politics because of a battle with depression.
Mr Robinson said that he and his wife would have published their statements before Christmas but had been advised not to do so by doctors treating Mrs Robinson.
Commentators in Ireland have said that the scandal is profoundly politically destabilising at a time when Gordon Brown is battling to have policing and justice devolved from direct rule ministers in Westminster to Stormont.
Mr Robinson, the Democratic Unionist Party leader, was back behind his desk yesterday and met Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness for talks about the devolution.
Earlier Mr Robinson went to his wife's base in nearby Newtownards and DUP headquarters in Belfast, where he told staff it was "business as usual".
The Daily Telegraph disclosed last year that they jointly claimed £2,171 a month for mortgage interest during 2007 as well as claiming for the maximum £400 for food most months.
An appreciation society in his name, which had more than 400 members, was created in Mr McCambley's name, with many of the members making comments about his alleged affair with Mrs Robinson.
Source. I'm kind of amazed that the guy isn't some greasy old lobbyist, but actually kinda hot; quite what he saw in her I've no idea, other than the number of zeroes on the end. I am totally gleeful about her rank, shrivelled, dried-up hypocrisy.