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Saturday 24 August 2019

Judge lists obstacles to overcome to complete Siteserv inquiry

Anglo Irish Bank
Anglo Irish Bank
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The interim report into transactions at the former Anglo Irish Bank has outlined a series of obstacles that it will have to overcome if it is complete its work.

Judge Brian Cregan has said it is not possible to make an accurate assessment of when the Commission’s work will be finished.

He has requested extra resources on top of the five barristers already at his disposals “to help deal with the workload and any actual or perceived conflicts of interest”.

The inquiry is probing all transactions involving IBRC where there were write-offs of €10m or more.

The interim report says that IRBC has identified 38 such transactions but has claimed that much of the documentation relating to the deals is legally considered confidential.

Judge Cregan has also proposed an approach which would focus on 12 largest transactions in the initial phase.

The most high-profile case under review is the sale of contracting firm Siteserv to Denis O’Brien’s Millington with a write-off of €119m.

The report released this evening identifies a number of issues which have emerged in the course of the Commission’s work, including:

- the Duty of Confidentiality over documents

- Privilege over Legal Advice

- access to Stock Exchange information

- a request for three changes to the Commission’s Terms of Reference

- clarification of the definition of Capital Loss intended

- the liquidation of Siteserv Plc

The Government said that it has asked officials to work on options for how to respond to the issues raised.

In a letter, the Department of An Taoiseach said it had “agreed to publish the Interim Report and invite the Opposition Parties in the  Oireachtas to submit their views on how to respond to the issues identified.

Enda Kenny is to write to the leaders of the Opposition Parties today requesting their views. “The Government reiterates its determination to ensure an effective and independent review of the issues of major public concern which have been raised,” the letter stated. 

The Oireachtas may now have to consider legislative change in order to get the Commission back on track.

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