V5.5.36 will only use default data directory

I installed v5.5.36 on a new Mint16 installation and it started ok. I then modified my.cnf to point to an existing data directory. I made sure that all folders and files were owned by mysql user and the mysql group had permissions to read/write. I also deleted existing files ib_logfile0/1, ibdata1 and aria_log_control as I know these must be recreated. When restarting MariaDb I get: Can't create/write to file '/home/michael/mysql/aria_log_control' (Errcode: 13). Files ib_logfile0 & 1 and ibdata1 were created ok so it is not a permissions problems. Why does only aria_log_control fail to create. If I copy all this data to default /var/lib/mysql and reset my.cnf then they work fine

Answer Answered by Ian Gilfillan in this comment.

There have been bugs reported with this issue, with discussions that may help. See for example MDEV-5334


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