HSE Briefing Latest: Individuals who were sent an email in error suggesting they would not be entitled to the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment have now been told they will receive the payment. The Department apologised for the error and any distress caused. #Covid19 pic.twitter.com/0bgGtbsXVZ
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) April 14, 2020
At the latest press briefing by the Assistant Secretary at the Department of An Taoiseach Liz Canavan.
Govt:42,100 employers now registered for Temp #wagesubsidy scheme #TWSS – total refunds paid to employers 199m. Latest tranche (44m) in most bank accounts tomorrow. 532,000 workers to receive #Covid19 Pandemic payment today. Gov apologises for mistaken emails denying entitlement.
— Ingrid Miley (@ingridmileyRTE) April 14, 2020
Watch the briefing back in full here
The full unabridged email that may bring down the current government.
Michael Flahive, of the Department of Justice, sent this to Tanaiste and former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald’s private secretary Christopher Quattrociocchi on May 15, 2015, which was subsequently sent to her.
Ms Fitzgerald has said she can’t recall receiving the email.
In it, Mr Flahive says he received a call from Richard Barrett, of the Attorney General’s office, and that, according to Mr Barrett, a row had taken place at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation between the legal counsel for Sgt Maurice McCabe and the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.
Mr Flahive claims Mr Barrett told him the row occurred because the counsel for Ms O’Sullivan wanted to introduce a complaint that the 2006 investigation into Ms D’s ‘dry humping’ allegation against Sgt McCabe wasn’t investigated properly.
Mr Flahive outlined that Michael McDowell, SC for Sgt McCabe, objected to this being raised and asked if Ms O’Sullivan had authorised the argument that this claim was relevant to Sgt McCabe’s motivation.
Mr Flahive explained that Mr Barrett said Ms O’Sullivan had authorised this approach.
On Tuesday night, Sgt McCabe told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar the alleged events outlined in this email never happened.
Readers should recall Ms Fitzgerald, in May 2015, received a lengthy report from GSOC in which it stated the 2006 investigation was carried out correctly.
That GSOC investigation followed a complaint made by Ms D, which was discussed at the Disclosures Tribunal when Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams gave evidence.
When Ms D gave a statement to GSOC, on July 3, 2014, Ms D told GSOC Mr Williams told her senior members of An Garda Siochana and Government were aware of her allegations.
When asked about this, Mr Williams said it was a “throwaway remark” that the then head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor said to him and that he later relayed it to Ms D.
Previously: Absence Of Malice
From top: Denis O’Brien; yesterday’s Sunday Business Post
You may recall the Siteserv sale back in 2012.
Denis O’Brien owed Anglo Irish Bank hundreds of millions.
Siteserv owed Anglo Irish Bank €144 million.
Denis bought Siteserv debt-free for €45 million.
You will find a detailed background to the deal here.
Since then a Commission of Investigation, led by High Court judge Brian Cregan, has been tasked with investigating the sale of Siteserv to Denis O’Brien, and other matters.
Earlier this year Catherine Murphy, of the Soc Dems, submitted a 300-page statement to the Commission detailing her research into the sale.
The commission has since written to Ms Murphy saying, if she doesn’t reveal her sources, “it may not be possible to advance some of the issues raised” by her.
Further to this…
In the Sunday Business Post.
Tom Lyons reported that an anonymous email sent to Taoiseach Enda Kenny and others – including the then Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin and Maurice Keane, a non-executive director of IBRC – is to be investigated by the commission.
Mr Lyons reported:
A special email set up by an unknown party used an address called firstname.lastname@example.org on April 5, 2012 at 12.20pm to make various allegations about the controversial sale of the business by IBRC to O’Brien a few weeks earlier.
The contents of the “DOB” email were previously posted online in the comments section of the website Broadsheet.ie but its contents received little attention at the time.
The comment was left under a Broadsheet post about the Siteserv sale on April 5, 2012, a few minutes after the email was sent to Mr Kenny.
Regular entertaining of Anglo senior management by Denis O’Brien has always been a feature, but that has increased significantly since Mike Aynsley, Tom Hunnersen and DOB’s personal friend Richard Woodhouse have joined the Bank.
A few weeks ago DOB and his wife were seen on the town with Mike Anysley, Tom Hunnersen and their wives. Denis while he is in Ireland is driven around by Mike Coughlan (a former Anglo employee) and is a regular visitor to the Anglo offices in Burlington Road, and is down there this morning having a one to one with Mike.
Most worrying is that the management of DOB has been moved under Richard Woodhouse, a close personal friend of Denis. Then the Siteserv account is also moved over to Richard Woodhouse’s management.
Interesting DOB’s initial bid for Siteserve was too low to be included in the 2nd round of bidders and he was initially not included in the 2nd round. DOB was not the highest final bidder, but IBRC asked for a letter to be produced that showed that DOB’s lower bid was the best bid.
Another account that has been moved to Richard is the personal borrowings of Brian Harvey and DOB has promised (in support for supporting the DOB bid) is that he will arrange for Anglo to do a deal on Harvey’s debt. The independent consultant to Siteserv is a long friend of DOB (worked on Boundary – see below) and is a also a heavily indebted borrower of Anglo who DOB has also promised to sort out.
Then the management of the Niall McFadden/Boundary Capital relationship is also moved to Richard Woodhouse. Anglo now looking to sell the debt of Niall McFadden (a close friend of Denis O’Brien) to DOB for a fraction of the original amount to allow Niall McFadden fraustrate National Irish Bank’s bid to secure bankruptcy.
More worryingly, IBRC (when the case was being managed by the Personal Lending team) initially decides that forebearance is the best option in the management of the Tony O’Reilly relationship (a bitter foe of DOB). Then suprisingly, the case management is moved to Richard Woodhouse, and the new team decides to take a more agressive stance on O’Reilly with the case expected to go legal shortly.
Further to this…
Mr Lyons also reported yesterday:
An internal review, however, was carried out at the time by IBRC into the allegations made in the email in a project code-named Rain.
A position paper was prepared to help the bank respond to questions relating to it. This was circulated both inside and outside the bank in response to queries about the email, which was in circulation between senior politicians, civil servants and journalists.
IBRC concluded that allegations in the email were either false or a misinterpretation of events. James Shaw, group operations in IBRC, carried out a review of the bank’s computer systems which failed to find who sent the email.
Kroll, the corporate investigations firm best known for tracking the fortunes of Saddam Hussein and the late Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, was then appointed by the bank to investigate.
The bank suspected an employee of the bank was behind the email, as parts of it described the movements of O’Brien and IBRC chief executive Mike Aynsley. Kroll however was unable to determine where the email originated from.
…IBRC produced a paper in response to this allegation which says:
“It is in the public domain that Mr Denis O’Brien is a significant borrower of the bank. It is also in the public domain that his outstanding loans are performing and have been significantly reduced by way of repayments over the past two years. As with any material borrowing relationship in the bank, Mike Aynsley, group chief executive, is closely involved in if, how and when these outstanding loans are repaid. Mr Aynsley has met with Mr O’Brien on a number of occasions in this capacity.”
The O’Brien dinner referred to in the email was not attended by Hunersen – but was attended by Aynsley and Richard Woodhouse (an IBRC executive).
Former minister for justice Michael McDowell later mentioned this dinner in a speech in the Seanad in July 2016.
Aynsley responded to McDowell by saying:
“The anonymous blog that Mr McDowell referred to is just plain wrong on just about everything it raises, except for the fact that there was a dinner,” Aynsley said.
The purpose of the dinner was to mark Aynsley defeating O’Brien in a charity weight-loss competition. Alan Dukes, the chairman of IBRC, he said was aware of the matter and had no objection.
Concerning Anglo’s ‘hard-line on Tony O’Reilly, IBRC, in its position paper, stated:
“There is no evidence to show that IBRC took an unnecessarily hard line with O’Reilly. The bank instead pursued a strategy of trying to reach a consensual solution with him.”
Nama’s chief executive Brendan McDonagh and a letter from Michael George, managing director of Fortress Capital, to Andrew McDowell, Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s former economic adviser, at 3.04pm on February 13, 2014
Further to the appearance of Nama officials – including chairman Frank Daly, chief executive Brendan McDonagh and audit committee chair and member of Nama’s Northern Ireland Advisory Committee Brian McInery – before the Public Accounts Committee yesterday…
US investment fund Fortress was the only underbidder in Nama’s eventual sale of Northern Ireland loan portfolio, otherwise known as Project Eagle, to Cerberus.
You mayrecall the following sequence of events, as outlined in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on the sale:
Nama approved a proposal to sell Project Eagle at a minimum price of £1.3bn over two meetings on December 12, 2013 and January 8, 2014.
On January 8, 2014, Lazard and Company Ltd were appointed as the loan sale advisor for Project Eagle.
On February 13, 2014, it was reported in the press that Pimco had approached Nama, back in 2013, to buy the whole Northern Ireland portfolio and, a day later, selected bidders were allowed to access information on the loans in a data room.
On March 12, 2014, Pimco withdrew from the loan sale process – after informing Nama of a £15million success fee arrangement involving a member of Nama’s Northern Ireland Advisory Committee, Frank Cushnahan, London law firm Brown Rudnick and Belfast-based Tughans solicitors.
On April 3, 2014, Nama approved the sale of Project Eagle to Cerberus who also used the services of Brown Rudnick and Tughans solicitors.
You may also recall reports that Fortresss had to make a representation to the Department of the Taoiseach on February 13, 2014, before it was invited into the bidding process some five weeks after it had begun and Nama’s denial of the same.
During yesterday’s PAC meeting, Fine Gael TD Noel Rock had the following exchange with Brendan McDonagh.
Noel Rock: “When were Pimco initially informed there was going to be a sales competition?”
Brendan McDonagh: “Pimco were told, I think, post the board meeting in January 2014. We’ve always maintained to Pimco, that there was never going to be an exclusive off-market sale directly to them.”
Rock: “Okay. All right. Do we have the minutes for that board meeting?”
Rock: “And it says that in it? Okay. Fortress, it was said earlier on, I don’t know if it was yourself of Frank said it, that there was no email to Enda Kenny from Fortress seeking…”
McDonagh: “None. No. There was reporting effectively that Fortress had, it was reported in the media that Fortress had to email the Department of the Taoiseach, the official Department of the Taoiseach to get access to the thing. That’s actually completely untrue. I know the managing director, senior managing director of Fortress. I met him a number of times I think in 2009 and we stayed in touch over various things. He emailed me on the 13th of February 2014. My email is available to the, there’s nothing in it. Basically saying, ‘Brendan, how’s it going?’ Talked about the rugby match at the weekend and said, ‘I just heard through one of my colleagues that the Northern Ireland portfolio may be on the market, it’s something I’d be interested in’. I forwarded the email to my colleague and said, ‘please let this guy, get Lazards to contact him because, you know, I met this guy, and I had no issue with him. I would know Fortress in my previous life. And it was, Fortress were brought, they were contacted by Lazards, I think that evening on the 13th of February. They were sent an NDA, an non-disclosure agreement and they were sent the NDA on the 14th of February and then they didn’t return their signed NDA, because you can’t get access to the data room until you supply the NDA, they didn’t return their signed NDA until the 26th of February, I don’t know why it took them 12 days to sign it. Maybe they had to go through their own internal compliance or whatever it was but they were invited into the process, on the evening of the 13th of February, but certainly on the 14th of February when they were sent the NDA.”
Rock: “I’m familiar with your emails. I’ve seen a copy of those. On the same day though, they did email the Department of the Taoiseach. Why do you think they would have done?”
McDonagh: “There was no, I don’t know what email the Department of the Taoiseach, I haven’t actually personally seen that email…”
Rock: “I’ll forward it to the secretary so you can be provided with a copy.”
McDonagh: “But I saw the media report but I was a bit surprised by that because I had got an email from the senior managing director of Fortress on the 13th of February myself and I arranged for Lazards to get in contact.”
Rock: “Okay, all right. Thank you. In, I think it was yourself Brendan, in a previous appearance before the PAC, I’m just going to quote this here if you don’t mind: ‘We appointed Lazard, then Lazard approached the nine biggest funds in the world, the guys who would have fire power and capital to be able to buy a portfolio like this. Then you listed the nine firms, including Fortress that you said had been approached. But it obviously seems, based on the discussion of the email with the Department of Taoiseach and indeed to yourself, that it wasn’t the case that they were approached; they, in fact, had to approach you. Do you accept this quote is now inaccurate, in effect?”
McDonagh: “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s inaccurate, deputy, because Fortress were one of the people which were considered to be approached by Lazard anyway so, as I said, there’s a league table in terms of, you know, people, division one, division two, division three, so as people drop out, we were pushing Lazard to get more people into the process.”
Rock: “Right. So. So, like, I’m finding this hard to understand. Did Lazard approach Fortress? Or not? If so, why did they [Fortress] need to approach you?”
McDonagh: “Well, all I can say to you, deputy, is as follows: On the 13th of February, I got an email from the senior managing director of Fortress, I got one of my colleagues to contact Lazard to say, ‘contact these guys in Fortress, find out if they’re interested or interested or not’. I don’t know personally when Lazard were going to contact Fortress or not, but I do know what happened on the 13th and 14th of February.”
Letter via Mick Wallace