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Taoiseach must fully explain failure to establish Project Eagle investigation – Adams

8 June, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil this morning, has said the Taoiseach must fully explain the government’s failure to establish an investigation into the sale of NAMA’s Northern loan book - Project Eagle.

Teachta Adams said:

“Taoiseach, I raised with you last week  the need for a full investigation into the sale and purchase of NAMA’s Northern loan book - Project Eagle and you avoided my question so I’m going to put it to you again.

“Some of the allegations are shocking. Between May 2010 and November 2013, a member of NAMA’s Advisory Board is alleged to have been charging a fee for advice about NAMA.

“It is further alleged that the same individual had an unethical working relationship with a senior NAMA Officer, which gave him access to additional and sensitive commercial information.

“It is also alleged he was lobbying on behalf of clients to reduce loan repayment demands, and in return he would secure cash payments - so called ‘fixer fees’, which were shared with the senior NAMA Officer.

“When NAMA decided to sell its Northern loan book to US vulture fund, Cerberus, this individual was offering to disclose information relating to the value of the loans to a bidder called PIMCO. It’s alleged that PIMCO discovered the payment of a fixer fee of £15 million was requested. This was to be paid if PIMCO were successful. PIMCO reported this to NAMA and withdrew from the process.

“According to a Sinn Féin Freedom of Information request, Minister Noonan was updated by the NAMA Chairman regarding these transactions, and it is still today unclear why the Minister did not intervene to exercise his general powers of direction over NAMA to suspend the sales process until these matters were fully investigated.

“Taoiseach, if found to be accurate, these are serious allegations of financial corruption and insider trading in which the taxpayer has suffered a huge loss. This State has had a market abuse regime in place since 2005 and regulations which provide for the prohibition of insider dealing and market manipulation. These are criminal offences.

“So would you explain Taoiseach, why you will not establish a full investigation into all of these matters.”

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