Tuesday 27 September 2016

PAC told Siteserv deal did not cause IBRC liquidation

Published 14/05/2015 | 02:30

It was agreed with Alan Dukes (pictured) and Mike Aynsley that a review would take place to better understand the deal and how it came about
It was agreed with Alan Dukes (pictured) and Mike Aynsley that a review would take place to better understand the deal and how it came about

The Department of Finance has insisted the decision to liquidate the IBRC in 2013 was not driven by concerns over the controversial Siteserv deal.

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The department also insisted that concerns about its relations with senior IBRC management did not cause the bank's wind-down.

The department made its comments in documents it sent to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) ahead of its appearance today.

In a detailed 21-page note on its relationship with the IBRC, the department set out its actions after concerns were raised over the Siteserv deal, which saw the taxpayer suffer a €100m loss.

The department said: "The decision to pursue the promissory note transaction, liquidate IBRC and appoint special liquidators was not the result of any concerns regarding individual IBRC transactions or the relationship with management."

The document states that Finance Minister Michael Noonan and his officials' concerns around the deal centred around why higher bids were not accepted; why shareholders got €5m; and why Siteserv was allowed run the sales process.

Questions

It states that department officials became aware of reports of aspects of the Siteserv deal in April 2012 and began asking questions as to what happened.

It was agreed with Alan Dukes and Mike Aynsley that a review would take place to better understand the deal and how it came about.

At a June 2012 review meeting, finance officials became "concerned" with aspects of the deal.

On July 25, 2012, Mr Noonan and senior officials met Mr Dukes and Mr Aynsley to discuss these concerns.

The document states that Mr Dukes, at this meeting, gave strong assurances as to the bone fides of the deal and the board was satisfied with it. The minister and officials accepted such assurances.

The documents to PAC also state that the department raised concerns around deals involving the Quinn family, dealings with US hedge fund Blackstone, and Denis O'Brien's Topaz.

Separately, Mr O'Brien and Mr Dukes are to be asked to appear before the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

The Committee has passed a motion to bring the pair before the committee to address questions on the controversial Siteserv deal.

Members of the committee have confirmed that it was accepted by all members that Mr Dukes and Mr O'Brien will be asked to appear before hearings.

Siteserv was sold to Denis O'Brien's Millington by the IBRC at a loss to the taxpayer of over €100m.

Irish Independent

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