Siteserv For Sore Eyes

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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:

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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

45 thoughts on “Siteserv For Sore Eyes

  1. Ferret McGruber

    Be realistic chaps. Arthur Cox are the only law firm in the country. Sure, who else could they use to oversee the deal? The fact that “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” is just one of those mad coincidences that happen when you live in such a small, tiny, minute, wee country such as ours. With only one law firm in it.

    1. Anthony

      Goodbodys? MOPS? William Fry? There are lots of law firms out there capabile of handling a deal like this. The truith, however, is that some law firms are better connected than others, and there may be a sense that those connections differentiate them in the market. That, if true, would be a serious problem.

    2. realPolithicks

      Ireland is the bananaist of banana republics. How could a sane person read this sh*te and not despair for the future of the country?

      1. scottser

        i hadn’t seen the full photo of DOB on the bench before. it sort of says it all really. public bench, DOB in the middle, wilfully ignorant of hogging the whole lot with his unnecessary sh1te.

  2. aoh

    What’s a “chinese wall”. Is that the great wall? So these guys never met in a corridor, never had coffee, never spoke about “it”? Boll and ocks.

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly

      There’s a great quote in Michael Lewis’ book The Big Short.
      ‘When I hear “Chinese Wall”, I think “You’re a fupping liar”.’

  3. Custo

    Even though they’ve tried their best to distract you with a mire of quasi legal-ese, management double-speak and ‘Yes Minister’ levels of political saying nothing, the whole affair is so blatantly corrupt that they still can’t hide it.

  4. Tescobag

    ” They also assured me that the payment to shareholders was necessary to ensure a vote in favour of the deaI” Isnt that bribery??

    1. Anthony

      It’s compensation, not bribery…but it struck me as strange too that an abstract unexplained payment would be referenced. Why compensate the shareholders directly, and not the company in question?

      1. Soundings

        More to the point, if the loan was in default then appoint a receiver and sell the asset without reference to the shareholders. That’s how it normally works.

  5. My Left Testicle

    Ease off on the ‘Ant-Water Charge’ thing for a couple of days Broadsheet, please.

    Me and the crew are off our heads on yokes.
    There’s a media-bias thing going on here, and you know it.

  6. Mike

    To late for me to read all this lads, does she have something on O’Brien/Government or not ?

    I’m guessing not as usual :(

  7. Truth in the News

    Arthur Cox, were they not involved in the agreement between the
    Government and the Religous Orders that gave indemity to the
    Orders for abuse claims, ending costing 1.5 Billion to the State
    Now, they are involved in this transaction advising both sides with
    a “chinese wall” in between, did they bring in a section of the wall from
    China and put it down the Stephens Green,office and no doubt all those
    involved took an oath of “omerta.
    This issue has been parked and not alluded to in the media or indeed probed
    How come it took Catherine Murphy’s PQ to highlight it., where is Richard
    Brution and his Dept in all of this, the Office of Corporate Enforcement and
    the rest of them….imagine the howls that Kenny and Gilmore would make
    if it happened with a goverment they were not part of…..they are scared
    of Dennis O’Brien….he’s the local version of Angela Merkel….it
    seems that they have cracked the problem of seving two masters.
    .

    1. Otis Blue

      Seems apt given that its eponymous founder was a solicitor who later became a priest.

      Some country in fairness.

  8. Anne

    Siteserv is disappointed… Awe.

    They’ll have to get used to being disappointed. Looks like she’s not letting this one go.
    Fair dues to her.

    Noonan is some fupping piss taker too.
    He’s as bad as Edna.. “Chinese walls were in place between the two teams”.
    Seriously? That’s supposed to be acceptable is it?

    Taking the piss.

  9. Soundings

    But, but. but, if Chinese Walls at Arthur Cox were deemed sufficient in the Siteserv transaction, then why is there a hullabaloo today about

    Arthur Cox acting for tobacco companies which are considering suing the State for imposing plain packaging

    AND

    Arthur Cox acting for Dept of Health and Dept of Children.

    Circumstantially, the Siteserv transaction stinks to high heaven of inappropriateness suggesting a perception of corruption.

  10. NilNocere

    Why is this being left up to Catherine Murphy to pursue? Is investigative journalism a thing of the past in Ireland?

  11. Anne

    ” 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. ”

    Trying to follow this..
    So a payment was made to the shareholders of siteserv on foot of the sale to DOB, some of whom were also members of the board at siteserv, AS WELL AS being with Arthur Cox – the firm advising Irish Resolution whatsit? WTF!
    That’s some golden circle there.

    And what kind of payments are we talking?

    Takin the piss.

    1. My Left Testicle

      Nice one Anne.

      When you aren;t being overtly sexual you bamboozle me with facts.
      {I think they’re facts. To be honest I’m just taking your word for it. The sexual stuff is better, but I’m still a big fan.)}

      My next-door neighbour is also called Anne, but she’s a bit of a *****

  12. Lilly

    We’ll done Catherine Murphy. She should also take this up with the Law Society. Solicitors are not meant to act on two sides of the same transaction, the concept of Chinese walls is BS in legal representation. The Siteserv Government water contract award should be annulled – further evidence of FG corruption.

  13. Conor

    The fact that it is left to a solitary TD to look into this is a joke. This island is no different to than it was GUBU times, why aren’t any journalists following this up? You really can’t make it up and fair play to both Mrs Murphy and Broadsheet for keeping this in the public eye.

    1. ollie

      and….. ibrc loaned siteserv 150 million then wrote off 100 million in july 2011. then siteserv shareholders sold the company for 45 million in mid 2012?
      the debt writedown was not connected to the sale.
      so, why did ibrc loan money and then write the loan off?

      1. ollie

        the ibrc writedown was unconditional, this seems to me to be criminal. no liquidation, no recovery of assets. just a simple debt writeofff with no recompense for the irish taxpayer.

  14. Father Filth

    I love Denis O’Brien, he’s so cuddly and squishy and.. sure look at him there on that bench, the little scamp.

    I’d buy a Denis O’Brien plushy, if it was available.

  15. Kolmo

    The whole thing stinks, lie after lie after lie, even DO’B wouldn’t have any respect for any easily frightened schmuck who paid the water tax/charges. Do as your betters do – brazen it out like a boss.

  16. Bonkers

    Arthur Cox laying the groundwork to make even more money at the tribunal that eventually results from this

Comments are closed.