Denis O’Brien says he did not run Siteserv sale process

Businessman happy to appear before PAC if it investigates the sale of the company

Businessman Denis O'Brien has said he did not run the sale process which saw a company he controls, Millington, purchase Siteserv from the IBRC for €45 million from IBRC.

In a statement released on Friday Mr O’Brien said he was merely the buyer and did not know what was going on with other offers.

Mr O’Brien said since they had taken over Siteserv, employee numbers and revenues had doubled.

Mr O'Brien also said he would be more than happy to appear before the Public Accounts Committee when and if they examine the sale.


The sale of Siteserv for €45 million is controversial because the State incurred a loss of more than €100 million and the Siteserv shareholders were paid €5 million as part of the deal.

At least one of the unsuccessful bidders for the company has questioned the sale.

Documents released to The Irish Times under Freedom of Information legislation in relation to the sale of the company show major tensions between IBRC and the Department of Finance went well beyond Siteserv.

The Government last night moved to quell the Siteserv controversy by asking IBRC's special liquidators, Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson, to examine the 30 or so sales by IBRC valued over €10 million.

The Government is insisting it did not establish the review into deals struck by the former Anglo Irish Bank because of "any evidence of wrongdoing". The report will be completed by the end of the summer.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today that a full public inquiry into the matter would be premature and that he believed waiting for the review to be completed in August was the best way of handling the issue.

Former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes is scheduled to give a press conference on Friday on the Siteserv controversy.

Mr Dukes has contradicted the Government's account of how it dealt with concerns over Mr O'Brien's acquisition of Siteserv.

The freedom of information documents also show him strongly defending IBRC’s position.

The documents show repeated controversies between IBRC and the Department over pay levels and appointments, and a number of major rows where the Department accused the bank of not clearing key appointments or pay increases.

Millington, the vehicle that Denis O'Brien used to buy Siteserv for €45 million, was set up in the Isle of Man on December 7th, 2011.

Mr O'Brien has used a plethora of Isle of Man companies to buy assets. Most are listed at the Barclays building. The best known is Baycliffe, an investment holding company whose shareholder is Barclays Wealth Nominees.

Cliff Taylor

Cliff Taylor

Cliff Taylor is an Irish Times writer and Managing Editor