Business Irish

Saturday 17 February 2018

Private equity group at centre of Mick Wallace Dail allegations denies making any improper payments

Independent TD Mick Wallace made the claims in the Dáil
Independent TD Mick Wallace made the claims in the Dáil
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

The private equity group at the centre of allegations made by Independent TD Mick Wallace regarding the sale by NAMA of a multibillion euro property portfolio has vigorously denied making any improper payments in relation to the deal.

Cerberus, which bought the Project Eagle portfolio from NAMA, said it was "deeply concerned" by the allegations made by Mr Wallace.

Last week, Mr Wallace told the Dail how the National Asset Management Agency had sold its entire portfolio for Northern Ireland, Project Eagle, for €1.5 billion to a US private equity firm despite it having originally been worth €4.5 billion.

He added that a routine audit of a legal firm involved in the process, Tughans of Belfast, revealed that “£7 million had ended up in an Isle of Man bank account… reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician.”

In a statement this morning, Cerberus said it "does not tolerate inappropriate actions such as the ones that have been alleged".

Cerberus had retained international law firm Brown Rudnick as it's advisor on the deal.

Cerberus continued:

"Brown Rudnick informed us that they wanted to retain Tughans as a Northern Ireland based legal firm to supplement its work.  In our engagement letter with Brown Rudnick, we received certifications, representations and warranties covering a number of issues including compliance with all laws and regulations including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. Bribery Act.  We insisted Brown Rudnick require Tughans be bound by the same standards and Brown Rudnick received the same from Tughans.  

"NAMA requested that we confirm to it that no fee, commission or other remuneration or payment was payable to any current or former Board member of NAMA, any current or former executive of NAMA or any current or former member of an advisory committee of NAMA in connection with any aspect of our participation in the tender process. After receiving confirmation from Brown Rudnick, and a similar confirmation by Tughans to Brown Rudnick, we provided such confirmation to NAMA. Consequently, to our best knowledge, no improper or illegal fees were paid by us or on our behalf by our advisors," the US firm added.

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