Sunday 17 December 2017

O'Brien and Aynsley hit back at Dail allegations

Businessmen criticise 'inaccurate' claims by Social Democrats TD

Businessman Denis O'Brien Photo: Tony Gavin
Businessman Denis O'Brien Photo: Tony Gavin
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

The businessman Denis O'Brien and Mike Aynsley, the former CEO of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), previously Anglo Irish Bank, have hit back at claims made under privilege in the Dail by the Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy .

In her speech, Ms Murphy claimed that in 2012 property developer Paddy McKillen, who had large debts to IBRC, was given a €5m bridging loan by the bank following an assurance given by Mr O'Brien.

She claimed that Mr O'Brien said he would provide IBRC with a guarantee to support Mr McKillen's request.

But yesterday both Mr O'Brien and the former IBRC CEO Mr Aynsley hit back.

In his statement, Mr O'Brien said: "In Dáil Éireann yesterday Ms Catherine Murphy purported to use Dail privilege to make statements relating to me which yet again were, firstly, false and, secondly, based on documents she knows were illegally obtained."

He added: "Because of ongoing litigation relating to a claim by me of abuse of Dail privilege by Ms Murphy last year I am not in a position to detail the defamatory nature of her statements to Dail Eireann of yesterday. For the record, I fully endorse the principle of Dail privilege but not when it is used to voice untruths or to make public the proper private and personal financial affairs of any individual."

Last Friday, Ms Murphy alleged in the Dail that Mr O'Brien had offered an assurance to support Mr McKillen's request for a financial facility.

She said: "Astoundingly, despite serious concerns from some about Mr McKillen's ability to repay the amounts he owed IBRC - far in excess of €5m - the bridging facility was granted.

"Essentially, a man with huge debts to IBRC was granted a loan from IBRC on the guarantee of another man, who owed significant sums to IBRC, while there were questions over both men's financial ability to fulfil original loan agreements with IBRC," Ms Murphy said.

Mr Aynsley said the claims made in the Dail by Deputy Murphy were: "Uninformed, inaccurate and a risk to the work of the Independent Commission."

Mr Aynsley added:"I think it is very unfortunate that Deputy Catherine Murphy has yet again presented a fictional and fanciful view of activities taking place at IBRC post nationalisation.

"This is not fair to the public, the bank's customers, the new board or the new management of the bank. As I have said in the past, I am not able to speak directly about the bank's clients and breach ethical and confidentiality obligations, other than to refer again to the detailed policies and processes adopted post-nationalisation in the recovery of value that ensured a proper separation of client interaction from the important activities of approval, control and oversight of the business.

"Regrettably, Deputy Murphy's speech referred to known performing clients of the bank and presented a selective picture that provides nothing other than the scantest outline without accuracy, key facts, background or perspective - the result is an uninformed picture filled with scaremongering and innuendo. It does so in such a way to infer the existence of a soap opera type conspiracy of the bank's board, management and clients.

Mr Aynsley said he was worried that the "inaccurate" claims made under Dail privilege could prejudice the important work of the Independent Commission.

Sunday Independent

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