Tag Archives: Michael Noonan

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German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Michael Noonan

Wolfy and Wily.

Bad cop. Bad cop.

Mr [Michael] Noonan sided with Germany in warning the provision of day-to-day emergency ECB lending to Greece cannot continue indefinitely.

The Finance Minister was among the toughest contributors in talks on the EU’s response to the Greek crisis.

At a heated finance ministers’ meeting, Mr Noonan and his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble, argued that the ECB governing council could not keep meeting every day to approve emergency loans to Greece.

But ECB officials told the ministers not to interfere with monetary policies.

Noonan backs Germans in Greek cash standoff Thomas Molloy, Independent.ie)

(AP)

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Finance Minister Michael Noonan on Six One this evening

Finance Minister Michael Noonan appeared on RTÉ’s Six One this evening to explain why a Commission of Inquiry will be carried out into certain transactions by IBRC.

“What has changed my mind on the process [of a review into IBRC] is that, since then, new allegations have been made. There’s no evidence underpinning any allegations but the allegations are now causing public concern and the review, in my view, is insufficient to deal with the new allegations so I recommended that the Government do a full Commission of Investigation which would report but the end of the year…”

“A new set of allegations emerged, surrounding the speech made by Deputy Catherine Murphy in the Dáil and that, together with the fact that there were cases before the courts about the publication of Deputy Murphy’s speech heightened public concern and I believe, at this stage, it’s in the public interest to put the matter in the hands of a judge who, under the powers of the 2004 Act will examine everything, including the original allegations which gave rise to the review by the liquidators and  taking into account the new allegations as well…”

“There may be wrongdoing but, if there is, there’s no evidence of it in any set of allegations. And all we have is a series of allegations but there’s public disquiet, it’s increasing, it’s in the public interest to have these matters fully investigated. We can’t have a belief going around that there was actions that were improper and that, in some way or another, the taxpayer lost out…”

When pressed by host Brian Dobson about the drip feed of information, following the way in which he answered questions put to him in the Dáil by Catherine Murphy – she asked 19 parliamentary questions before she got a comprehensive reply – Mr Noonan said:

“I answered questions, absolutely fully in the way questions are answered in the Dáil. There were full answers made but, obviously, if you go for Freedom of Information and look for a full file, you’ll get background information as well. But there’s a methodology in the Dáil, if somebody feels the answers they got are inadequate. They can refer it to the Ceann Comhairle and adjudicate. Now the questions were adequately answered and of course there’s a drip feed of information – there’s thousands of documents, thousands of pages of documents in IBRC and thousands in the Department of Finance… You don’t produce full files when one specific question is asked”

Mr Noonan’s department has also released a four-page document containing the draft terms of the inquiry.

From the draft:

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Meanwhile…Philip Ryan in the Irish Independent reported tonight:

“The Department of Finance has discovered a tranche of board meeting minutes from the Irish Bank Resolution Company (IBRC) which Finance Minister Michael Noonan previously said he had not received.”

“The minutes include the IBRC board meeting where the sale of Siteserv to a company owned by businessman Denis O’Brien was discussed. However, the details of the sale, including the payment of €5m to Siteserv shareholders, was not outlined in the documents… A Department of Finance source said the files, which are described as ‘board packs’ were “incorrectly filed” in the Department and only recently discovered… A Department of Finance source said the documents do not change the fact that the Minister was not made aware of the details of the Siteserv deal or any other significant transactions at IBRC.”

Hmmm.

The Department of Finance has since published the minutes from the meeting on March 15 2012:

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Readers will note the presence of former IBRC senior executive Richard Woodhouse at the meeting on March 15, 2012.

But, following a press conference held by former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes on April 24 of this year, the Irish Times reported, on April 25, that:

Mr Dukes also revealed that Richard Woodhouse, then IBRC’s head of asset management, was kept out of discussions over the Siteserv deal within IBRC, as he also managed the relationship between the bank and Mr O’Brien. ‘We appointed Tom Hunerson instead, and also Peter Rossiter, the chief risk officer, to oversee the transaction,’ said Mr Dukes.”

Anyone?

Previously: NOKPMG!

Government gives go-ahead for commission of investigation into certain IBRC transactions (Philip Ryan, Irish Independent)

Noonan says inquiry will examine preferential interest rates given to IBRC clients (RTE)

Siteserv: attacks on civil servants ‘regrettable’, says Moran (Irish Times)

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Alan Dukes (left) and Michael Noonan at a Fine Gael event in 2002

 

The Government is considering the appointment of a Commission of Investigation into certain activities and transactions at IBRC, former Anglo Irish Bank.
A proposal to establish such an inquiry has been brought to Cabinet today by Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, using existing 2004 legislation. An announcement is anticipated later today.

The Government had previously asked IBRC special liquidators, Kieran Wallace [of KPMG, which advised on the Siteserv deal] and Eamonn Richardson to review various IBRC transactions which involved a cost to the Exchequer of at least €10 million or were seen to involve other matters of public interest.

RUN!

Government considering IBRC commission of investigation (Harry McGee and Cliff Taylor, Irish Times)

Earlier: Previously On ‘Falsified Documents’

Update:

90378385Minister for Finance Michael Noonan yesterday in government buildings

This morning.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan went on RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Sean O’Rourke to discuss yesterday’s Spring Statement and the ongoing Siteserv crisis with the host in rare form (in fairness).

You could hear a pin drop.

As the minister chose to whisper.

Sean O’Rourke:
“On the, em, Siteserv sale, Minister, you have, the inquiry announced there last week, just reviewing, eh, that and other transactions by IBRC, Mr Wallace, the liquidator who’s in charge of that and then he’s going to be overseen by [retired judge] Iarlaith O’Neill, do you regret now that you weren’t more forthcoming in the Dail when you were asked questions about that, that transaction and issue?”

Michael Noonan: “No, I was very forthcoming. The issues coming out now in the interviews done by Alan Dukes {former IBRC chairman]  and Mr [Mike] Aynsley [former IBRC CEO] and so on, they’re giving their side of the story, I have a whole run of Dáil questions again this week and I’ll be answering them and giving full information. I gave the information to the Dáil. But no one expects in a Dáil reply to get the information they get under Freedom of Information and Catherine Murphy, doing a very good job, went on to the Freedom of information route and she got the background.”

O’Rourke: “But [Independent TD] Catherine Murphy had to ask, she was on question 19 to you before it ever emerged that you had concerns, and very serious concerns, about the way IBRC was doing business, and not just about Siteserv.”

Noonan: “First of all, it was all back in 2012. The issue was the accountability of IBRC to the Minister for Finance and to the Department of Finance. The Minister and the officials were in exactly the same space. We had a whole series of concerns which we dealt with with the Board of IBRC, we resolved the situation to our satisfaction by putting an Assistant Secretary in there, there is no evidence whatsoever that any misappropriate action took place in any of their transactions but because it has become such an issue of public concern it’s timely now that…”

O’Rourke: “But you could have defused all that ages ago, Minister, by being a little more up-front about the concerns that were there, instead of which as [political correspondent] Brian Dowling put it last Sunday on the [RTÉ Radio] This Week programme, anybody reading your replies would say, well, nothing to see here, there’s nothing that gives any indication that the Minister was concerned about the way business was done and those answers were really designed to conceal more than they revealed.”

Noonan: “No, no, no, that is not correct. The information that was requested was given. I have no grounds now, and I don’t think anybody else has any evidence, that anything untoward happened. I got assurance from the Board through their chairman that what they did was in the best interests of the Irish taxpayers and I accepted that insurance because the responsibility, the legal responsibility, of the Board was to do what they did and I was barred from getting involved in any commercial decision of the Board and I accepted it and we will see now whether my judgment was right or not when it is reviewed, but the review isn’t because evidence has come out the review is because there has been a public furore and its in the public interest that…”

O’Rourke: “Let’s just get a little flavour of it, two very brief clips, one’s from you and the other’s from Alan Dukes when you announced the thing last week, here’s just what you said, I think, in Limerick in Friday…”

[plays recording]

Noonan: “One, is just to establish were there were any malpractices or any criminal offence and secondly would what happened in these transactions be considered to be sound business practice.”

Dukes: “And that makes me extremely angry, that even though the Minister says that he doesn’t expect to find anything like that, the very fact that there’s any mention of criminality or malpractice to my mind is absolutely outrageous.”

O’Rourke: “He’s hoppin’ mad.

Noonan: “Of course he is, he is, very annoyed. But all the allegations made under privilege in the Dail were effectively allegations that fraud had occurred. Now how could I possibly have a review conducted that didn’t deal with that issue. Fraud is a criminal offence.

O’Rourke: “In other words it was quite calculated, it wasn’t a slip of the tongue on your part or anything like that when you said fraud, criminality.”

Noonan: “Yeah, when you go back, I don’t think anything happened like that but if you go back on the record in the Dail the allegations were, effectively were, that there were criminal transactions fraud is a criminal offence, I mean, what would you be saying to me this morning if I prevented the review from examining whether fraud occurred or not? Like, that is a ridiculous position.”

O’Rourke: “For Alan Dukes to take, yes.

Noonan: “Well I think he probably misunderstood what I was doing or else he hadn’t been tuned in to what were the allegations made in the Dáil, but one of the problems in all these things where there’s allegations of scandal is that all allegations are run under privilege as if they were true and then truth has to be proved.”

O’Rourke: “But you didn’t, I don’t think you made it quite clear when you were making the announcement last Friday that it was because of things said in the Dáil that you used those words fraud or criminality.”

Noonan: “I did, I did a very long interview with [RTE journalist] Sean Whelan and I think I referenced the fact that it had gone to the point where there were allegations made and they had to be answered.”

O’Rourke: “What about Alan Dukes’ suggestion that your secretary general in the department John Moran wanted to have a kind of arrangement whereby not only would he be appointed would he join the board of IBRC but himself and Alan Dukes would effectively ready up decisions that would be pushed through the Board and in a way that Alan Dukes certainly felt was inappropriate.”

Noonan: “I don’t know what the basis for the second charge is but on the first charge it was quite common in the past to have departmental officials on the boards of organisations like IBRC. Brian Lenihan, when he set up the Board, because you know there were an awful lot of allegations of political interference in Anglo, he excluded departmental representatives and he also put an arrangement in place that the political side and the departmental side would have no influence over transactions, anything commercial was excluded so that made the accountability difficult but my difficulty with IBRC was an issue of governance and they were independent in carrying out their functions but I had a function to hold them accountable, they did not give me full value for my role and I had to fight in the public interest to make sure I had it their examples in the literature and information that has been revealed first of all the Government brought in a pay policy that bankers couldn’t be paid in excess of €500,000, they tried to ignore that and they tried to hire people at higher salaries, we wanted the cost of IBRC to reduced and instead of that they kept hiring people against government policy, so there were a lot of issues, but they were issues about their independence and my responsibility to hold them accountable.”

O’Rourke: “I know that he main explanation and justification for shutting them down for liquidating them was because of things to do with promissory notes but was that tense relationship and your dissatisfaction and lack of trust in them, to what extent did it influence that government decision?

Noonan: “No it didn’t. The sequence of events was that, you know, coming into the late spring and summer things came to a head and I had that meeting the minutes of which were released with Alan Dukes and Mr Ainsley and after that we made a decision that John Moran would meet Mr Aynsley [IBRC CEO] and the result of that meeting was an agreement that an Assistant Secretary would be put in. As well as that…”

O’Rourke: “And that didn’t work out too well either.”

Noonan: “As well as that we had a new relationship framework as they call it, you know, a new contract governing the relationship between the Department and IBRC and that gave us oversight of transactions in excess of 100 million and then by September I was negotiating in Europe on the promissory note and it was clear to me by September that whatever the solution ended up at in its detail it would involve the liquidation of the Bank…”

O’Rourke: “And is there any suggestion on your part or suspicion that the Siteserv sale was hurried through to get done and dusted before the new regime whereby they would have to report to you in more detail would arrive because it was only a matter of days, a couple of weeks…”

Noonan: “No, I have no evidence and I don’t think anybody else has of any wrongdoing, there was a series of unsupported allegations and we have to have a review…”

O’Rourke: “I suppose, as [former Labour Minister for Communications] Pat Rabbitte put it in his column in The Sunday Business Post last Sunday, no matter how effective the rebuttal, any story that has a rotten bank losing taxpayers’ money the country’s most prominent businessman shareholders of a bust company extracting a pay off and a minister accountable to the Dáil will outpace the economic statistics any day.”

Noonan: “Yes, all that is probably true but the people who were running IBRC at Board level they had no involvement in Anglo, I mean the whole board in Anglo had stood down this was a new board put in by [then Minister for Finance] Brian Lenihan and there were a lot of eminent people of high repute who were on that Board and I would classify Alan Dukes who was on the Board first and then appointed Chairman by Brian Lenihan as a a person of high repute as well and I have no evidence that they did anything.”

O’Rourke: “A former colleague of both of you, [Newstalk Breakfast presenter and former Fine Gael Minister] Ivan Yates, has suggested that if you were minister at the start when that Board was being assembled you’d never have appointed Alan Dukes chairman, whatever about keeping him there.”

Noonan: “No we have a cordial relationship which we’ve kept up over the years.”

O’Rourke: “That’s what [Progressive Democrats founder] Des O’Malley used to say about Charlie Haughey.”

Noonan: “Now, now, it’s not like that, we don’t see one another very often but when we see one another we’re friendly.”

O’Rourke: “And are you satisfied that this matter can be investigated and put out there in the public domain, all kinds of reassurance provided, how quickly, I think the 30th August was mentioned…”

Noonan: “Yeah, yeah, the end of August the end of August but I see this as the first phase possibly. It may, you know, when we get the report this may end the matter but I’m going to put the Report to the appropriate Dáil Committees and if there’s something that has to go farther we’ll go farther.”

O’Rourke: “But to go back to where we started, Minister, you weren’t upfront about the concerns you had, you talked earlier about data sharing with the Dail…”

Noonan: “I was upfront, I was upfront.”

O’Rourke: “Really? And how come we had to wait for the FOIs then at all, why shouldn’t you have given all the information that was in the FOIs, why not give that to the Dail?”

Noonan: “Because why do we have FOIs only to get background information?”

O’Rourke: “But it’s, it shouldn’t really be a game of cat and mouse, it’s not today or yesterday that the late Judge [Liam] Hamilton said if Dáil answers or Dail questions were properly answered there’d be no Beef Tribunal.”

Noonan: “It’s not a game of cat and mouse but there are procedures there which TDs can get information…”

O’Rourke: “But is there not a mindset there and maybe in your case it goes back to your days as Minister for Justice, tell them nothing.”

Noonan: “Ah now, you’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel there when you’re talking like that, I mean RTÉ isn’t great at disclosure you’re sitting on reports for 12 months that you haven’t published, I mean reports about the future of RTÉ*, so get off the stage, get off the stage now.”

O’Rourke: “Attack is the best form of defence there Minister, I’m just wondering why should a public representative elected by the Irish people not get the same information in reply to a Dail question as is there in the files anyway, why put them through the business of FOI?”

Noonan: “Because the files are often background information there was nothing in the files that added to the sum of the knowledge, the files were about a disagreement between us and it was the Department exercising its governance and when the proper procedure was invoked, Freedom of Information, all of the information was given out.”

O’Rourke: “Wasn’t that a bit clumsy now?”

Noonan: “I don’t think it’s clumsy at all, it’s very effective and it has proved to be effective.”

O’Rourke: “And you don’t see a case for put it out there, if a TD asks the question give them the answer, give them the answer?”

Noonan: “Well you see, I don’t think it’s feasible to say if somebody mentions IBRC that I give, you know, out chestloads of information on IBRC just because it’s mentioned.”

O’Rourke: “We’re talking about exams later and you’re a former teacher, answer the question you’re asked, is that essentially what you’re saying?”

Noonan: “What I’m saying is that there are two ways, well, there are several ways that deputies can get information and one of them is by Dáil question and the other is by Freedom of Information and Catherine Murphy followed the correct procedure, she invoked both options and she got the information.”

O’Rourke: “Would the moral of the story then from a TD’s point of view be, forget about the Dáil question, go straight for Freedom of Information?”

Noonan: “No, no. They’re different I mean you get very precise accurate information on the Dail question, if you’re looking for background then it’s Freedom of Information.”

O’Rourke: “OK Minister, thank you very much for coming in. Michael Noonan, the Minister for Finance.”

Listen back here

* anyone?

Meanwhile…

Notwithstanding the State’s ownership of the bank, IBRC operates at an arm’s length capacity from the State in relation to commercial issues. It is a matter for the board and management to determine and implement such policy in their organisation. Therefore, commercial decisions in relation to IBRC are solely a decision for the bank. IBRC have informed me that KPMG Corporate Finance and Davy Corporate Finance ran a joint sales process to sell Siteserv which was in severe financial difficulties and was unable to service or pay back its loans to IBRC. The sale process was initiated by Siteserv and overseen by a subcommittee of the Siteserv Board. The sale process involved two stages and IBRC was briefed after each stage. The Board of Siteserv, as advised by KPMG Corporate Finance and Davy Corporate Finance, recommended the successful bid as representing the best return forIBRC. The Board of the bank are satisfied that this is the case.

Michael Noonan’s reply to Pearse Doherty on April 18, 2012

 

Notwithstanding the State’s ownership of the bank at the time, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation operated at an arm’s length capacity from the State in relation to commercial issues. It was a matter for the board and management to determine and implement such policy in their organisation. Therefore, commercial decisions in relation to IBRC were solely a decision for the bank. I am aware that KPMG Corporate Finance and Davy Corporate Finance ran a joint sales process to sell Siteserv which was in severe financial difficulties and was unable to service or pay back its loans to IBRC. The sale process was initiated by Siteserv and overseen by a subcommittee of the Siteserv Board. The sale process involved two stages and IBRC was briefed after each stage. The Board of Siteserv, as advised by KPMG Corporate Finance and Davy Corporate Finance, recommended the successful bid as representing the best return for IBRC. I am advised that the Board of the bank at that time were satisfied that this was the case.

Michael Noonan’s reply to Catherine Murphy on December 16, 2014

Right so.

Also…

letter

Michael Noonan’s words used to scary effect in bowel-loosening letter from [REDACTED]’s legal team to Karl’s den the ‘sheet, January 2014.

Good times.

(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

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Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 01.44.50Finance Minister Michael Noonan on Six One last night.

Michael Noonan gave the government’s latest position on the Siteserv deal last night to Brian Dobson on RTÉ’s Six One News . An account which directly contradicts former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes’ recollection.

Grab a tay.

Brian Dobson: “This was a deal that, because of the write-off of the debt, it cost the taxpayer, the State, over €100million. It was one of many such deals, of course throughout that period. But it was one you raised concerns about in the aftermath, it seems, of the deal being done. Now, at what stage and why did you become concerned about this transaction?”

Michael Noonan: “Well, first of all, Anglo Irish Bank was a bit of a disaster, the taxpayers put in €34million, when Fianna Fail were in Government, and I saw my responsibility to protect the taxpayer and, if possible, to reduce the cost of servicing the €32billion and we did that with the promissory arrangements and then to recover as much as we possibly could. And I found that we didn’t have the kind of flow of information I would have now with AIB, for example, because the arrangement that my predecessor entered into didn’t require transactions to be notified and I was in the position of having to answer to the Dáil and of being unsure of the flow of information, even though there was regular meetings between IBRC and Finance officials.”

Dobson: “So in relation to Siteserv then, you were only aware of the transaction, the fact that €100m, over €100m of debt had been written off and that the company had subsequently been sold to a company controlled by Denis O’Brien in March 2012, I think it was, you only became aware of that after the event?”

Noonan: “Yeah, I got a PQ [Parliamentary Question] in April and then I got briefed on it but there was a series of concerns about the relationship between IBRC and the Department of Finance at the time. And I had a number of meetings and, at one meeting, I was extensively briefed on issues from renumeration to new appointments of directors, to senior management and the Siteserv issue was an issue of concern as well.”

Dobson: “So why were you left in the dark? Was it that you didn’t ask the right questions, you didn’t say to the people in charge of IBRC, ‘what’s going on here? keep me briefed?'”

Noonan: “No, it was the legal arrangement, when Anglo became IBRC, between the then minister and the authorities in IBRC was that they didn’t have to notify anything that was commercial. The idea was to keep the commercial decisions at a distance from the politicians.”

Dobson: “Right.”

Noonan: “Which is reasonable…”

Dobson: “Even though it was the taxpayers’ interest that was at stake here.”

Noonan: “It’s a reasonable thing to do but, you know, I found that I needed more information then I was getting automatically so I actually subsequently changed the framework so that they had to notify any transactions over €100million.”

Dobson: “What your officials were saying to you and they were expressing concerns about this deal at the time and what they were saying is that you should have gone to the chairman of the IBRC and said, ‘I want an independent review of this transaction’ to get to the bottom of what happened. You didn’t. Why not?”

Noonan: “Well, that was the essence of it, but really what it was was important meetings. I’d have a kind of a note to remind me of the main issues and, in that note, the advice was to put it to Alan Dukes, who was the chairman, to have an outside inquiry into the transaction. But in the course of the meeting, Alan Dukes told me that he had got the board of IBRC to do a full review and that the board had assured him, and he was assuring me, that what happened was in the best interest of the State and consequently of the taxpayer.”

Dobson: “But the board carrying out a review is very different to an independent review.”

Noonan: “Yes but to say you could review something if there was a possibility of changing anything but all transactions were complete. There was no legal possibility of a reversal and I trusted Alan Dukes.”

Dobson: “But presumably accountability is also important here. That people know what went on and why because there were aspects of this deal, your own officials raised questions about it, for example, that the shareholders in the company Siteserv, which was bust, were paid €5million.”

Noonan:I had a meeting where Alan Dukes came in as chairman, Michael Aynsley came in as chief executive and we went through the issues and the conclusion of that was an assurance from the chairman, on behalf of the board, that everything was done properly and not only done properly but was the best result possible for the Irish taxpayers and that’s minuted. And I accepted that. Otherwise I’d have problems with allowing the board to continue. And…”

Dobson: “Did you get answers to the questions, for example, as to why some potential bidders were excluded from the process. I think one French company said they were willing to offer €60million for this company whereby it was sold for €45million.”

Noonan: “There was a series of allegations made before and after I had the meeting. But, in general terms, the deal was the deal and I was assured that the components of the deal were necessary to get the best result for the taxpayer and, you know, there was independent advice as well to the board of IBRC and they concluded the deal and…”

Dobson: “And the best deal for the taxpayer included €5million for the shareholders in a bust company?

Noonan:The view on that was that this was an essential component, or the advice was that the shareholders wouldn’t have concluded the deal otherwise and the longer it went on, the more the taxpayer were losing because the company was going downhill”

Dobson: “There are more documents, I think, to be released tomorrow [today] under Freedom of Information, we believe in the Irish Times. Will they address something else that’s referred to in the documents that had been released, that Siteserv wasn’t the only deal about which there was concern within your department?”

Noonan: “There was a lot of concerns about different issues and these will be recited in tomorrow’s, in tomorrow’s release, under Freedom of Information but everything that people are saying about Siteserv now were the issues that I was briefed on when I had a series of meetings and one in particular with the chairman and the chief executive of the company.”

Dobson: “OK well more to come on this…”

Noonan: “More to come tomorrow, yeah.”

Dobson: “Minister Noonan, thank you very much.”

Watch here

Yesterday: Throwing Alan Under The Bus

Previously: Siteserv on Broadsheet

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Former IBRC chief and FIne Gael leader Alan Dukes (top) and Enda Kenny in the Dail this morning taking siteserv questions from Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.

You want Senior Hurling?

There you go now.

Earlier: Are You Satisfied?

Previously: Siteserv And The Bank That Liked To Say Yes

Contains Impurities

90377450

This morning.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan at the Convention centre, Dublin this morning for a Ireland Strategic Investment Fund event overshadowed by questions over the Denis O’Brien/IBRC/ Siteserv deal.

Meanwhile…

Minister for Communications Alex White has said it is not for him to say whether there should be an inquiry into the IBRC sale of construction company Siteserv to a company owned by businessman Denis O’Brien.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr White said he had not had an opportunity to discuss information obtained through a Freedom of Information request with Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

He noted that the bank itself and its former chairman Alan Dukes had said the best deal possible was obtained and he had no reason to disagree.

Noonan ‘satisfied’ with action he took over the SiteServ sale (Newstalk)

Minister unsure on inquiry into Siteserv sale (Newstalk)

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

catherinemurphy90093094

From top: Catherine Murphy and Denis O’Brien

Further to this.

You may be aware of concerns regarding Siteserv, the business purchased by Denis O’Brien from IRBC with a write off of €100 million that was subsequently awarded the water meter contract.

Questions regarding many aspects of the deal raised by North Kildare TD Catherine Murphy elicted the following response from Siteserv today:

B_54WIOWQAEVA06

Hmm.

Ms Murphy replied:

“This absolutely is agenda-driven, my agenda is always to serve the public interest and this deal involved a significant amount of public money being written off. This is very firmly in the public interest. There are questions surrounding the deal which I don’t believe have been adequately dealt with, questions which I, as a parliamentarian, have an obligation to raise.”

Meanwhile, during the Siteserv acquisition, it emerged that lawyers acting for Mr O’Brien’s side and IBRC came from the same firm, Arthur Cox.

Ms Murphy submitted a written question Minister for Finance Michael Noonan concerning this and other anomalies. To wit:

Has his  attention has been drawn to potential conflicts of interest, which existed at the time of the sale, by the former Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, of an entity; specifically if his attention has been drawn to the fact that agents, contracted by the Corporation, to execute the sale, also held significant interests in the entity being sold, that the legal advisors, on the sale, were acting for both the vendor, and purchaser, in the transaction, and that the reported agreed sale terms included a large payment to the board of the entity being sold, and whose votes were obviously required to approve the sale; if so, his views that this presents an alarming set of circumstances, to an entity tasked with protecting the taxpayers’ interests; and if he will make a statement on the matter?

This evening, Mr Noonan responded:

As the Deputy is aware, a Relationship Framework dated 8th July 2009 was in place at the time the Board of IBRC approved the sale of the company referred to in the question. Under this Relationship Framework, the Board of IBRC were required to engage with the Minister for Finance on certain key issues which included “any material acquisitions, disposals, investments, realisations or other transactions, other than in the ordinary course of Anglo Irish Bank’s banking business.” It should be noted that this Relationship Framework did not include any specific monetary thresholds which would trigger mandatory consultation with the Minister for Finance. It should also be noted, that at that time, the ordinary course of the Bank’s business was to conduct an orderly run-down and ultimate liquidation of the Bank. As such, IBRC’s efforts, as a secured lender, to maximise the recovery on its loans to the company referred to in the question was considered to be in the ordinary course of business. For that reason, and under the Relationship Framework in place at that time, IBRC were not required to consult with the Minister for Finance on this matter in advance of making the decision to approve the sale of the company referred to in the question.

Upon the receipt of critical representations following the transaction, Department of Finance officials inquired about the transaction with IBRC management as part of their regular engagement. Following initial discussions, they agreed with IBRC’s Chairman and CEO that they would review the transaction involving the company referred to in the question in greater detail to better understand the decisions taken and the impact these decisions had on the process and the final recovery for the bank.

Through this review, Department of Finance officials were made aware of certain aspects of the transaction which raised concerns with the quality of some of the decisions taken in respect of this transaction, including, among others, that legal advisors to the company referred to in the question had also acted for the purchaser, that a payment had been paid to the shareholders of the company referred to in the question, that some of those shareholders were members of the Board of the company referred to in the question and that a significant proportion of those shareholders appeared to be clients of the financial advisor on the transaction to the company referred to in the question.

In light of these concerns, I subsequently met with IBRC’s Chairman [Alan Dukes] and CEO [Mike Aynsley] to discuss concerns regarding this transaction. The Chairman and CEO confirmed to me the legal advice was provided by two different teams within the law firm concerned and that appropriate Chinese walls were in place between the two teams. They also assured me that the payment to shareholders was necessary to ensure a vote in favour of the deal . They further assured me that the transaction had been thoroughly assessed by the IBRC Board and that the transaction was managed in the best manner possible to achieve the best result for the State.

Good times.

Previously: Denis O’Brien, Fine Gael And The Water Meter Deal

Contains Impurities: The irish Water Timeline

 Pics: Photocall Ireland, Catherine Murphy

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Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Just being trolled at this stage.

“I don’t know, it is very hard to estimate, I mean some people are protesting because they don’t want to pay at all. But we govern for the centre, we govern for the reasonable people, and reasonable people were upset by the way in which this [protests in Tallaght on Saturday] was handled.”

Finance Minister Michael Noonan today.

Thanks for clarifying that.

Noonan: We govern for the reasonable people (BreakingNews.ie)

Earlier: Meanwhile, In Limerick