Independent TD Mick Wallace told the Dáil today that he was ‘summoned’ to a meeting by a ‘public figure’ during which he was warned by a ‘leading member of Cerberus Ireland’.
Mr Wallace said the message relayed to him was that he was ‘going to get sorted’.
Cerberus bought NAMA’s Northern Ireland loans, otherwise known as Project Eagle.
Mick Wallace: “Taoiseach, in January 2014, US investor Blackstone acquired three properties from Project Platinum for €100million. They’re now looking to offload them for €170 [million]. That’s a profit of 70%, not 7, 70. Despite the fact that the buildings were yielding around 6% per annum in rents while Nama’s costs of money was less than one. Still, there was a panic to sell them. Taoiseach, following Pimco’s allegations, regarding kickbacks for fixers, why did Nama allow the deal to proceed with the same players, Brown Rudnick and Tughan’s involved. Did Nama report the Pimco allegations to the relevant law enforcement of the Government? And if they did, when? In a confidential letter, from Brown Rudnick, the minister for finance in the North, Sammy Wilson, Brown Rudnick admit to acting for two clients with strong interests in Project Eagle. Brown Rudnick ended up acting for Pimco and Cerberus which isn’t legal. This matter is now being investigated by the Securities and Exchange in America. Why did Nama have no concerns about the involvement of Brown Rudnick and Tughan’s, despite the revelations? Taoiseach, the reserve price for Project Eagle was €1.3billion. This was adjusted to €1.24billion, in April 2014, to reflect, Nama told us, asset disposals which took place in the intervening period between the launch of the loan sale and its closing. Can you find out, Taoiseach, what are the details of these disposals? Can you tell me Taoiseach, why the reserve price was reduced by €60million? Could you find out if this is connected to reports of a developer whose loans were in Project Eagle and he came to Nama to complain about being approached by fixers who were looking for a backhand in order for him to buy his loans back at 50p in the pound from Cerberus in the autumn of 2013, months before Cerberus even bought it. Can you find out, Taoiseach, if Nama actually done a deal with this developer? Can you tell us what disposals were involved with this €60million? Taoiseach, I raised this with you before the summer. Why are you insisted on doing nothing about this? Why don’t you want to get answers to the questions that are being raised? We have loads of questions, and there’s more every week, but we’ve no answers. Why aren’t you interested?”
Enda Kenny: “It’s not a question of not having interest, Deputy. The issue in respect of Nama and the Northern Ireland portfolio, for instance, there are two investigations going on here, one by the police and one by the parliamentary commission. Questions have been answered at some considerable length here in the house by the Minister for Finance on this matter and whatever papers or correspondence is necessary and available will be presented to either of those two investigations. Now, Pimco was dropped as you’re aware. Under the legislation, setting up Nama, Nama are responsible to the Houses of the Oireachtas, they’re before the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday. I suggest that the questions you’ve just asked here, and any other questions you have, be given to a member of the Public Accounts Commmittee to ask Nama directly on Thursday. They are responsible to the Houses of the Oireachtas. You have made, you have made strong statements, you’ve made comments or allegations about fixers, about bags of money, I suggest to you, Deputy Wallace, that if you can back up that information, you should bring it to the notice of the Comptroller and Auditor General immediately and to the police authorities. These are very serious allegations. And the questions that you raise, can be legitimately asked of Nama, at the Public Accounts Committee on this Thursday, they are responsible to this House here. And in respect of the matter of the Northern Ireland portfolio, there are two investigations going on there, outside this jurisdiction.”
Wallace: “Taoiseach I get the impression that you’re trying to hide behind the fig leaf of Oireachtas committees, I’ve already been to the guards, I’ve been to the National Crime Agency, the British who are looking into it. I’ve already been to both of them. Right. What I can’t understand is why you don’t want to know anything about it. Cerberus are under investigation, criminal investigation, in two countries and they still haven’t been disqualified into looking at Project Arrow and threatening to buy it. Project Arrow has a par value of €7.2 [billion] and it looks like it might be sold for something in the region of €1billion, despite that we have…and 50% of it is residential units in the Republic and we have a housing crisis. Where’s the logic of selling Project Arrow to someone like Cerberus, who are being investigated for criminal activity in two countries. Taoiseach, you couldn’t make this up. It’s absolute nonsense. Now listen, I realise these are serious players and actually, only recently, I was summoned to a meeting by a public figure and a message was passed on to me from a leading member of Cerberus Ireland that I was going to get sorted. Now why would they have to say that, if I’m telling the truth? Why would they? Can you understand that? Taoiseach…”
Ceann Comhairle (Sean Barrett): “Sorry this is Leaders’ Questions.”
Wallace: “…Are you actually going to seriously allow the questions that are swirling around Nama, as I’ve said before, Taoiseach, the workings of Nama have left too much to be desired and there’s a lot rotten about it. And Taoiseach is it going to be on your legacy that you ignored all this? Is it going to be a part of your history that you choose to ignore what’s going on in Nama?”
Barrett: “Thank you.”
Kenny: “That’s another allegation that you make and it will not be a part of our history. Nama is responsible to the Houses of the Oireachtas here, of which you are a member. You come in here, week after week, with very strong statements and allegations, I can’t say whether what you say is true or not, or whether you can back that up. I’m glad you’ve gone to the police force, I’m glad you’ve gone to the crime investigations unit but you yourself maybe don’t want these questions raised or have somebody raise them for you at the body to whom Nama is responsible and through whom they’re responsible to this House here. It’s not good enough for you, Deputy Wallace, to come in here. And if you’re the centre of attention for receiving these kinds of allegations, I hope that when they’re made to you, that you demand that proof be given because you have full privilege in here and…”
Kenny: “…and I’m sure, I’m quite sure Deputy Wallace that you want to use that with responsibility. If there’s an issue here, the questions have been asked and the questions that have been answered by Nama mean that there’s nothing wrong on the seller side. If there’s anything wrong, it seems to be on the purchaser’s side. So I’d suggest to you, you write out your list of questions, these can be raised. You want to find out the truth about these issues well then we need to use the facility available to public representation in the public interest to ask these questions. I’d like that you’d furnish, to the Public Accounts Committee, the basis of the evidence given to you that will make the allegations you make stand up.”
Previously: The Eagle Has Landed