Tag Archives: Siteserv

This morning.

Via Irish Times.

The judge investigating the Siteserv affair has found that the company’s chief executive had a “concealed financial interest” in Denis O’Brien’s successful bid for the business.

Brian Harvey – a Siteserv co-founder – backed Denis O’Brien’s proposal after negotiating a significant shareholding in the billionaire’s new company if his bid won, Mr Justice Brian Cregan said.

“The commission has found that at key stages in the sale process, Mr Harvey improperly favoured Mr O’Brien’s bid and put his own personal financial interests ahead of the interests of the company and its main creditor, the bank,” said the draft report.

Siteserv chief ‘concealed financial interest’ in Denis O’Brien bid, judge finds (Irish Times)


Friday: Now Den

Previously: Deal Timeline


Alan Dukes, former Chairman of IBRC at a press briefing in relation to the Siteserv issue on April 23, 2015  at the offices of Eames Solicitors, Dublin 2

He was ‘scandalised’.

Further to the leak this morning of a final draft of the Siterserv legal review that reportedly asserts:

‘The bank made its decision to approve the sale of the Siteserv group to Denis O’Brien in good faith, but based on misleading and incomplete information provided to it by the company.’

The State incurred a loss of more than €100 million on the sale.

Siteserv shareholders were paid €5 million as part of the deal.

Throughout the sale process, criticism was usually angrily shut down.

How angrily?

Via Irish Times (April 24, 2015)

Former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes said he is “extremely angry” the review of the Siteserv sale and other transactions conducted by the bank will seek evidence of criminality or malpractice.

The very fact that the possibility of criminality had been mentioned was “absolutely outrageous”, he told a press conference in Dublin.

Mr Dukes said he does not know the precise list of transactions to be covered under the Government-commissioned IBRC review into transations worth more than €10 million, but that he was “happy” the review is taking place.

However, he said he is “scandalised”at the notion of the review seeking evidence of malpractice by IBRC, a State-owned bank set up to wind down the assets of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.

There were “no grounds for suggesting that”, he told the press conference .

Some people, he said, saw “conspiracy in their tea leaves”, adding he wished to say “in the strongest possible terms” that any such allegations were out of place.

He said he tried not be paranoid, adding that did not mean “they’re not out to get you”, to laughter from many of those present….

Siteserv: Dukes ‘angry’ at suggestion of criminality (Irish Times, April 24, 2015)


Former Finance Minister Michael Noonan

[Alan Dukes] assured me that what happened was in the best interests of the State and consequently of the taxpayer”.

The deal was the deal and I was assured the components of the deal were necessary to get the best results for the taxpayer. All transactions were complete. There was no possibility of a reversal and I trusted Alan Dukes.”

Michael Noonan, April 22, 2015.

Good times.

Earlier: Now Den

Previously: Deal Timeline

 The Bank That Liked To Say Yes


Thanks Giggidygoo

This morning.

Via Irish Times:

Mr Justice Brian Cregan circulated a confidential draft final report to witnesses on Thursday after seven years of investigation, in which he criticised a process “below the surface” where certain events occurred during the sale without the bank’s knowledge.

…Although the findings are still subject to change, the judge has reiterated the conclusion set out in a previous draft report last year that the deal was not commercially sound.

The commission has determined that it can be concluded that the bank made its decision to approve the sale of the Siteserv group to Mr O’Brien in good faith, but based on misleading and incomplete information provided to it by the company,” the judge said.

Sale of Siteserv to Denis O’Brien based on ‘misleading information’, judge says (Irish Times)

Previously: How The Deal Was Done: Siteserv Timeline


This afternoon.

Actavo HQ, Westland House, New Nangor Road, Dublin

Campaigners are staging protests at four Actavo (formerly Siteserv) sites across Ireland, England and Scotland to demand the Denis O’Brien-owned company pay scaffolders the ‘rate for the job’.

The scaffolders, employed by Actavo at British Steel in Scunthorpe, England say they are being paid up to 15 per cent below the agreed rate under the UK’s National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI) and will begin continuous strike action this Wednesday. The workers. Unite is calling on both British Steel and Actavo to enter into tripartite negotiations with Unite.

Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews


Previously: How The Deal Was Done: Siteserv Timeline


Last night.

Previously: Siteserv on Broadsheet

Siteserv; Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy; Denis O’Brien

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.

In 2017 Catherine Murphy, of the Soc Dems, submitted a 300-page statement to the Commission detailing her research into the sale.

The commission later wrote 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…

This morning.

In The Irish Times.

Jack Horgan-Jones reports:

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy will not appear at the Siteserv inquiry as she fears she will be forced to reveal the sources of her information about businessman Denis O’Brien’s finances, The Irish Times has learned.

In a 10-page letter to the Cregan commission, parliamentary lawyers acting on Ms Murphy’s behalf argue that if she were to attend, she would be cross-examined by lawyers acting for other witnesses on “the source or sources of information” she relied upon when making statements about Mr O’Brien and the deal that saw him buy infrastructure company Siteserv.

“The commission is unable to afford any reassurance to Deputy Murphy that such cross-examination will not be permitted or that she will not be required to answer the questions put to her in the course of such cross-examination,” the letter, seen by The Irish Times, states.

Catherine Murphy will not appear at Siteserv inquiry (Jack Horgan-Jones, The Irish Times)

Previously: [REDACTED]’s 1.25% Interest Rate

What The Commenter Said

Cregan Commission on Broadsheet

From top: Siteserv now Actavo offices in west Dublin; David McCourt


In The Sunday Times, Justice McCarthy reported:

David McCourt, whose company Granahan McCourt is the state’s preferred bidder for the €5bn national broadband plan, has also been contacted as a witness by Cregan [Commission [looking into the sale of Siteserv to Denis O’Brien].

Granahan McCourt was involved in a bid to buy Siteserv subsidiary companies in 2012 along with the Gores Group, a Californian private equity company.

“Several months ago, the Cregan Commission sent a list of questions, which Granahan McCourt replied to in full to assist with their investigation,” the company said. “[We were] not the bidder in the sale process — it was led by the Gores Group, which we understand also assisted with the investigation.”


Karl Brophy, a public relations consultant, has been called as a witness by the Siteserv inquiry to answer allegations made by Denis O’Brien that he leaked the businessman’s banking information to politicians and journalists.

Brophy, the chief executive of Red Flag, a PR and lobbying company, has told the Cregan Commission that he did not give anyone information about O’Brien’s dealings with IBRC and never had the information to give.

READ IN FULL: Red Flag boss Karl Brophy to face Siteserv inquiry over Denis O’Brien leak allegations (Justine McCarthy, The Sunday Times)

Previously: What’s Another Year

Request from Judge Brian Cregan for an extension for his inquiry into the sale of Siteserv; Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy; businessman Denis O’Brien

Yesterday, The Sunday Business Post, reported that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is refusing to give Judge Brian Cregan a 15-month extension for his inquiry into the sale of Siteserv and that he wants to know what the commission has found to date before doing so.

Judge Cregan’s request for an extension last week follows three other similar requests since the commission of investigation was set up in 2015.

The 2012 sale of Siteserv, to a company controlled by Denis O’Brien, Millington, is just one of 38 debt write-offs involving IBRC, formally Anglo Irish Bank, that Judge Cregan is tasked with examining. Siteserv is now called Actavo.

Hugh O’Connell reported:

The possibility of the commission of investigation, which is examining Siteserv and other IBRC loans sales, being scrapped entirely was raised at a meeting between the Taoiseach and opposition party leaders earlier this month. There are mounting concerns over the several missed deadlines and rising costs previously estimated at up to €25 million.

A Dáil vote would be needed to scrap the inquiry completely.

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy said:

“If we simply accept that the task of investigating Siteserv is too big and complicated, then essentially we are being asked to accept that there is an entire cohort of people who are too big to touch. I cannot and will not accept that.”

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms Murphy said:

What concerns me about the commission is that the format it is following is akin to a tribunal of inquiry rather than a private investigation. There seems to be a highly legalistic approach.

That is not what was expected. I myself said I did not want it to go on forever when it was set up. It will be five years. To say I am disappointed is probably an understatement.”

Varadkar is refusing to extend the Siteserv inquiry deadline (Hugh O’Connell, Sunday Business Post)

TD who raised issue of Siteserv sale to Dáil criticises inquiry’s progress (Harry McGee, The Irish Times)

Previously: Inactavo

From top: Siteserv now Actavo offices in west Dublin; Denis O’Brien

In 2015, a Commission of Investigation into debt write-offs by IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, was set up.

It was tasked with examining 38 transactions which cost the State €10million or more each – or a total debt write-down of €1.88 billion.

This morning, Tom McEnaney, of Times Ireland, reports that the commission is still only examining just one of these transactions – the 2012 sale of Siteserv to a company controlled by Denis O’Brien, Millington.

The commission wants an extension to complete its investigation on the Siteserv deal by June 2020.

It was originally meant to report by the end of 2015, this was extended until April 2016, then until the end of 2017, and then until the end of 2018.

Mr McEnaney also reported that it’s his understanding that the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar intends on consulting opposition parties on the future of the entire commission.

Asked about the significance of this intention, Mr McEnaney told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning:

“I think it holds in question the future of a commission that doesn’t seem to be working the way we all expected it to be working into allegations where there’s been never any prima facie case established.

“So, I think, obviously he [Varadkar] hasn’t automatically granted yet another extension and so it must put into question whether the commission will continue to operate, or at least continue to operate in the way it has been thus far.”

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