Project Eagle: North’s crime agency identifies eight further potential suspects

File relates to allegations surrounding £1.2bn sale of Nama’s NI property portfolio

This is the latest development in the NCA’s long-running investigation into the sale by Nama of its former Northern Ireland portfolio – Project Eagle – to US investment fund Cerberus in 2014

This is the latest development in the NCA’s long-running investigation into the sale by Nama of its former Northern Ireland portfolio – Project Eagle – to US investment fund Cerberus in 2014

 

The North’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has confirmed it has received a file of evidence from the UK’s National Crime Agency which contains the names of eight potential suspects linked to allegations surrounding the £1.2 billion (€1.37 billion) sale of Nama’s Northern Ireland property portfolio. This is the second file to be passed to the PPS.

None of the eight suspects has been publicly identified by either the National Crime Agency (NCA) or the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

It is the latest development in the NCA’s long-running and complex investigation into the controversial sale by Nama of its former Northern Ireland portfolio – known as Project Eagle – to US investment fund Cerberus in 2014.

New York-headquartered Cerberus has consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to the transaction, as has Nama.

The PPS said it has to date received two files in relation to the NCA’s ongoing investigation into the Project Eagle sale.

The first was handed over in March, 2018 and detailed two suspects.

Decision

The PPS said a decision was taken in November to not prosecute one of those two suspects after it was concluded that the evidence examined was “not sufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction for any offence”.

However, the second person who was identified in the first file is, according to the PPS, “under consideration” as part of the second file.

The PPS said in a statement on Thursday: “A team of expert senior prosecutors has begun the process of considering this substantial file of evidence which relates to allegations against eight suspects.

“In the meantime, we are awaiting receipt of some further material from the NCA which is required before final decisions can be issued in due course.”

The NCA has previously stressed that its investigation into the Project Eagle sale is a “high priority operation” and covers the “NI loan book purchase and dispersal of fees offshore” and the “nature, extent and probity of the relationships and roles of persons involved in the process, including allegations of corruption”.