Wallace alleges €45m ‘fixers’ fees were paid in Nama deal
Claims Cerberus looked to sell loans back to developers before they even bought portfolio
Independent TD Mick Wallace has made further allegations under Dáil privilege about the largest property sale in Irish history. Photograph: Eric Luke
Independent TD Mick Wallace has made further allegations under Dáil privilege about the largest property sale in Irish history.
He claimed that €45 million in “fixers’ fees” had been paid out during the controversial sale to US company Cerberus Capital Management of an 800 property loan portfolio in Northern Ireland by the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).
The Wexford TD also claimed Cerberus went to some of the major players before they even bought the portfolio and offered to sell big developers back their own loans for 50 pence in the pound and “they jumped at it”. But they had to pay a fee, he said.
Mr Wallace had revealed in the Dáil before the summer that £7million was lying in an Isle of Man bank account, linked to the Nama sale and intended for ‘fixers’.
In the Dáil on Thursday he said that was “only for openers. €45 million has been paid to fixers”.
He also said “Cerberus have been able to sell loans for double what they paid for them in a very short period of time. Why couldn’t Nama do that?”
He said that Nama sold the loans in what was called ‘Project Eagle’, for approximately 27 pence in the pound. “The missing 73 pence in the pound has been picked up by the taxpayer in the south.”
He said Cerberus was now under criminal investigation in two countries for Project Eagle. “Why haven’t they been disqualified from Project Arrow. How in God’s name can ye tolerate that?” he asked Tánaiste Joan Burton.
Mr Wallace said the latest sale portfolio had a par value of €7.2 billion that “Nama is threatening to sell for in the region of €1billlion”. He said 50 per cent of it was residential in the south and it looked like Cerberus was going to buy it.
He also described as “nonsense” claims by Nama that Frank Cushnahan, a member of the agency’s Northern advisory committee, and one of the people lined up to receive a ‘fixer’s fee’, was not privy to sensitive information or anything confidential with regard to Project Eagle.
“It is nonsense for Nama to suggest that the problems are all about the purchase. There are serious problems about the sale of Project Eagle by Nama to Cerberus and it stinks to the high heavens.”
But Ms Burton rejected his calls for a commission of investigation. She insisted that the sale of the northern Ireland portfolio was a Northern Ireland issue and that the police in the North and the UK fraud authorities should be allowed to investigate the matter.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams asked Ms Burton if she had raised the issue with the Minister for Finance and the Taoiseach.
“Nama is a national body, this is taxpayers’ money,” he said. “There is enough evidence here to justify a number of investigations.”
Addressing Mr Adams she said: “Can you not allow the Northern Ireland institutions investigating this matter, including the PSNI, including agencies from the UK which deal with fraud and serious crime, and including some organisations from the US are all inquiring into this.
“Does that not suggest that you lack confidence in Northern Ireland institutions to make inquiries and lead to a conclusion of those inquiries?”