Tuesday 27 September 2016

Wallace to face grilling in North over €9.8m Nama claim

Adrian Rutherford

Published 04/07/2015 | 02:30

Mr Wallace alleged 'a routine audit showed that £7m ended up in an Isle of Man bank account', adding: 'It was reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician'
Mr Wallace alleged 'a routine audit showed that £7m ended up in an Isle of Man bank account', adding: 'It was reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician'

Independent TD Mick Wallace could face a Stormont grilling over his claim that a €9.8m (£7m) payoff had been set aside for a Northern Ireland politician.

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Daithi McKay said he intends to call Mr Wallace before the Assembly committee he chairs over allegations he made in the Dáil. Mr Wallace named law firm Tughans as having acted for Cerberus, the US investment firm which bought Nama's Northern Ireland portfolio.

Mr Wallace alleged "a routine audit showed that £7m ended up in an Isle of Man bank account", adding: "It was reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician."

Nama said that it is fully satisfied, having taken advice from financial advisors Lazard, that the process delivered the best possible return that could have been achieved for Irish taxpayers. Meanwhile, Tughans has denied any wrongdoing, saying the practice is not linked to any political party and that it has not made any political donations. It did, however, confirm that a former partner - understood to be ex-managing director Ian Coulter - did divert money into a bank account. He was the sole beneficial owner of the account and he has since left the company.

Yesterday, calls were growing for a full probe into the claims, including from First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Mr McKay, who chairs the Assembly's Finance Committee, said he intended to convene an emergency sitting to consider its response to the allegations. Officials from Cerberus could be called before politicians.

Mr McKay said: "I would intend to call on Nama officials and Mick Wallace to appear before the committee, and the law firm involved to elaborate on their recent statements on the matter."

Investigation

However, Mr Wallace last night indicated he would not attending the meeting to elaborate on his comments.

"People are talking about me giving information to the gardaí or the PSNI? What's the gardaí and the PSNI being paid to do? Why don't they do their investigation?" he told RTÉ news.

"I said what I've said in the Dáil and what's the point of me going up there to repeat it?"

Cerberus said it is not, and never has been, a client of Tughans.

"We want to make it clear that no improper or illegal fees were paid by us or on our behalf, and we take any allegation to the contrary extremely seriously," it added.

Irish Independent

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