Business Irish

Friday 22 September 2017

Bring any Siteserv concerns to stock exchange, TD told

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has advised Independent TD Catherine Murphy to contact the Irish Stock Exchange with any allegations of insider training around the sale of Siteserv
Finance Minister Michael Noonan has advised Independent TD Catherine Murphy to contact the Irish Stock Exchange with any allegations of insider training around the sale of Siteserv
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has advised Independent TD Catherine Murphy to contact the Irish Stock Exchange with any allegations of insider training around the sale of Siteserv.

In a Parliamentary Question, Ms Murphy asked Mr Noonan whether he was aware that Siteserv shares were bought by senior employees at an "entity" engaged by the company to facilitate its sale.

She said these shares were bought in the three months before the company was sold to Millington - a firm owned by businessman Denis O'Brien.

She asked whether these shares were bought as a result of "privileged information relating to the sale being shared in a dishonest fashion".

Ms Murphy also asked whether the Irish Stock Exchange investigated these share tradings.

In response, Mr Noonan told the TD she was raising "serious concerns" regarding potential insider dealing.

The minister said if she has information regarding such practice she should contact the Irish Stock Exchange.

"The Irish Stock Exchange investigates suspected insider dealing on the Enterprise Stock Market, being the market on which Siteserv shares traded, and reports any such findings to the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement. The Department of Finance does not have a role in this process," Mr Noonan said.

Mr Noonan said during his department's review of the Siteserv sale that it was not brought to his or his official's attention that there may have been "questionable share trading activity".

"Neither I nor officials in my Department monitor the share dealing activity in publicly traded companies, including Siteserv," he added.

Siteserv shareholders were paid €5m as part of the sale of the company by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) to Millington.

The sale of the company resulted in a loss of €105m to the taxpayer and is currently the subject of a review established by the Government in the wake of political pressure over the deal.

However, Mr Noonan said he was assured by IBRC that the deal was the best on offer to the taxpayer.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has already said the Government is willing to facilitate further reviews into the controversy.

Irish Independent

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