Wednesday 13 November 2019

Siteserv inquiry: Noonan accepts KPMG will have to be kept at 'arms length' if conflict arises

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

Kathryn Hayes

THE Minister for Finance has accepted that KPMG will have to be at "arms length" from the inquiry into the controversial Siteserv sale should any conflict of interest arise in the review process.

Speaking in Limerick earlier Michael Noonan confirmed that provisions dealing with any possible conflicts of interest will be announced this Monday evening.

He said these terms would include bringing in somebody independent working with the liquidator, if required so that "nobody is reviewing their own case".

"So I said when we indicated the terms of reference, that there will be a provision in the terms of reference when we announce them probably later this evening, to deal with any possible conflicts of interest.

"So there will be a system put in place so that if there is any conflict of interest KPMG will have to be at arms length, and other professionals will be brought in to deal with that piece of the review."

When asked if he was not concerned that there was already a conflict of interest given KPGM involvement in the Siteserv deal Minister Noonan replied:

"I'm not. If you look at Siteserv, KPMG had an involvement. Arthur Cox, one of the biggest legal firms in Dublin were the legal advisors, to both sides with different groups within the copay advising different sides. Davys were advisors as well PWC were advisors to another group."

"I want a review of over 30 transactions and without checking it at all I know that every serious company in Dublin, whether its accountancy or legal will run into conflicts of interest on this.

"So what I need is somebody independent in there working with the liquidator to adjudicate on where there's a conflict of interest so that nobody is reviewing their own case."

Minisister Noonan said there was no need to widen terms reference beyond IBRC,

"We have seen situations before when it was in the interest of people to widen the terms of references so that the review will go on indefinitely, and we have had the Moriarty Tribunal and other tribunals going on for 12 or 14 years..

"The issues of concern here arise from IBRC, Anglo Irish bank and that's what is going to be addressed in the review.

When asked if KPMG has possession of the list of shareholders who benefited from the €5m awarded after the sale Mr Noonan said he believes the liquidators have access to the information.

"I understand they (KPMG) have access to it (the shareholder list) anyway because they have access to all the documents that they inherited from IBRC when they took over, that's why I appointed them to do the first review because first of all they have all the data in their possession," he said.

"Secondly, they understand how liquidation works, thirdly they are forensic accountants so they understand how the accountancy system works and they are expertise in company law."

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