Noonan ordered review into O’Brien’s purchase of Siteserv

Minister says ‘concerns’ raised about quality of decisions in transaction

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has told Independent TD Catherine Murphy he ordered a departmental review into Denis O’Brien’s €45 million purchase in 2012 of Siteserv from IBRC. Photograph: Bloomberg

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has told Independent TD Catherine Murphy he ordered a departmental review into Denis O’Brien’s €45 million purchase in 2012 of Siteserv from IBRC. Photograph: Bloomberg

 

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has told Independent TD Catherine Murphy he ordered a departmental review into Denis O’Brien’s €45 million purchase in 2012 of Siteserv from IBRC.

The deal included a debt writeoff from the State bank of more than €100 million, which “raised concerns about the quality of some of the decisions taken in respect of the transaction”.

In a written reply this week to a parliamentary question about the deal submitted by Ms Murphy, Mr Noonan said the “concerns” included the fact that lawyers had acted for both the buyer and seller, that a payment was made to the shareholders of Siteserv who were also directors, and the shareholders were also clients of the company’s financial adviser.

Mr Noonan said that “in light of those concerns” he met with members of IBRC’s board to discuss the deal, who he said provided reassurances in relation to the matters.

“They further assured me that the transaction had been thoroughly assessed by the IBRC board and [it] was managed in the best manner possible to achieve the best result for the State,” he told Ms Murphy in his reply.

Siteserv heavily criticised Ms Murphy yesterday for making “repeated unfounded public accusations” in relation to the deal. Siteserv said “any attempt to continually portray the transaction in such a negative manner is completely without foundation and is purely agenda driven”.

Another bidder

Ms Murphy responded to Siteserv yesterday evening by saying her querying of the deal “is absolutely agenda driven”.

“My agenda has always been to serve the public interest and this deal involved a significant amount of public money being written off,” she said.