Wallace: Nama role in seeing Cerberus earmarked for project

Taoiseach says TD has duty to bring allegations before Public Accounts Committee

Mick Wallace said in the Dáil that a insider in Dublin collaborated with the US firm. Photograph: PA

Mick Wallace said in the Dáil that a insider in Dublin collaborated with the US firm. Photograph: PA

 

Independent TD Mick Wallace has claimed the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) was involved in ensuring US investor Cerberus acquired the 800-property Northern Ireland loan portfolio known as Project Eagle.

He also suggested in the Dáil that a Nama insider in Dublin collaborated with the US firm.

And he alleged that Taoiseach Enda Kenny had been involved in a cover-up of the controversial sale “because he refused to do anything about it”.

The Wexford TD called for a commission of investigation into the sale of the loan book to the US firm for £1.2 billion.

“We’re not going to get answers without a commission of inquiry,” he insisted .

But Mr Kenny told the Independent TD that if he had information and evidence about Cerberus being earmarked for the project and it being fixed up, and about people based in Dublin being “got at”, then Mr Wallace had a duty and responsibility to give that evidence to the Oireachtas Committee of Public Accounts.

Mr Kenny said Mr Wallace was saying it was “all a cover-up. He says it is fixed up, that people were got at. He needs to elaborate and give evidence for that kind of information.”

Mr Wallace first raised the controversial sale in July, when he claimed that £7.5 million in “fixer” fees had been set aside for the sale.

Since the Dáil’s return in September, he has made a number of allegations about the sale, and in the Dáil on Wednesday, he said: “At this stage, there is a strong belief that Cerberus was earmarked to get this project, hail, rain or snow; that the whole thing was fixed up in order that it would get it.

“Nama is involved in that and the agency cannot distance itself. The sales process is not much better than the purchase process.”

Collaboration

He said that at the Public Accounts Committee hearing last week, Nama officials said they could not give the committee details on the conflict of interest declaration by Frank Cushnahan, member of the Northern Ireland advisory committee to Nama.

Mr Wallace also stated that Nama said they “were not even obliged to do so”.

The Wexford TD also asked the Taoiseach if he had any problem with the fact that Lazard, the company running the Project Eagle sales process for Nama, “were also involved with the bank that gave the money to Cerberus to buy it”.