Sunday 25 August 2019

Case over IBRC inquiry terms of reference settled

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Tim Healy

A legal action concerning the use of documents, and interpretation of the terms of reference, by the State investigation into the sale of Siteserv has been resolved at the High Court.

Under the settlement of the dispute between Island Capital Management Ltd and the Commission of Investigation into certain transactions of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), a  statement was read to the court on Tuesday.

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It said the settlement “has been entered into in order to ensure that the work of the Commission is not delayed”.

Island – which led the 2012 acquisition of Siteserv (now called Actavo) by Millington, a company controlled by businessman Denis O’Brien – has agreed to waive legal privilege over “the one particular document in which the Commission has expressed interest”, it was stated.

Island had expressed concerns from September 2016 about the meaning of the Commission’s terms of reference and the statement said the Commission acknowledged, having received written and oral submissions by interested parties, that it “first delivered a detailed interpretation of its terms of reference on January 10th 2019”.

The Commission stated it will respond to any additional concerns of Island or others. It was also stated, “in recognition of the foregoing”, the Commission has agreed to make a “contribution” to Island’s legal costs.

Before the statement was read, Michael Cush SC, for Island, said there were various notice parties to the action and, while his side had not managed to communicate with all of them, he believed they would recognise the settlement ended the proceedings.

After the statement was read by John Hennessy SC, for the Commission, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan agreed to make an order striking out the proceedings.

Brian Cregan, a High Court judge, is the sole member of the commission investigating the Siteserv deal, which involved IBRC writing off €110m of the Siteserv debt when it was sold. The investigation is being conducted in private.

In its judicial review proceedings, Island challenged a ruling by Judge Cregan concerning the treatment of certain documents and also raised issues about the terms of reference.

Tuesday’s statement said the applicants acknowledge the Commission has at all times approached the issue of LAP “in good faith”.

The applicants recognise there is a public interest in the work of the Commission and have agreed to waive their claim of privilege in respect of “the one particular document in which the Commission has expressed interest”, it was stated.

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