Off-Shore Bank Accounts and NAMA (NI)

Mick Wallace TD is the mop-haired Independent TD for Wexford. Today he opened a veritable can of worms – and the story is beginning to break on this evening’s bulletins on the BBC.

Wallace today revealed in Tánaiste Questions in the Dail that Northern Ireland law-firm Tughans allegedly, according to Wallace, held a £7m Isle of Man bank account “reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or party.”  Tughans was the law-firm acting for Cerebus Capital Management, the private equity firm that acquired NAMA’s Northern Ireland loan-book (that had a par value of £4.5B) for £1.5B.

On Twitter this evening people are speculating as to whether this strange bank account is in any way linked to a surprise resignation from Tughans earlier in the year. No doubt, we’ll find out soon.

Mick Wallace, helpfully, has included the entire Dail exchange and video sequence on his blog.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    This is all very exciting. But I suspect there is no real story.

    A few things should be stated. Firstly Tughan’s are a large and well regarded law firm with an impeccable reputation and are the retained commercial lawyers for many businesses and organisations in Belfast and beyond. They would not and could not want anything to do with any grubby deals to divert money to politicians.

    Secondly, £7m is a preposterously large sum of money. No politician or party could ever accept a direct bribe that big – there is no way they would be able to disguise it. This sum is currently equivalent to a rollover in the UK lottery. Someone would get wind of it and leak it out. Many laws would have been broken – undeclared payments; taxation issues; etc etc. People would go to jail if they were caught.

    Thirdly, precisely how could any Northern Ireland politician intervene in the deal in a way that would make it more favourable to the ultimate beneficiaries ? NAMA is a southern entity. How could some randomer from NI – senior or not – phone NAMA and make them swing the deal in a way that would justify a £7m bribe ?

    The more likely conclusion is to be found in the statement issued by Tughan’s. They say that this sum was their fee, and that the fee had been inappropriately diverted to this account by a partner who is now no longer with the firm. They also say they have since recovered the fee. It is noted that Tughan’s never acted for NAMA or Cerberus.

    Reading between the lines, I’d say it went down like this. The folks in charge at Tughan’s discovered the missing money in an audit some time ago and traced it to the partner involved. I’d imagine said partner was called in by the men in grey suits and told that unless the money was returned and resignation tendered immediately that the police would be called. Said partner then complied and was escorted from the building forthwith – always the wisest option when dealing with a room full of lawyers.

    As you note, one of Tughan’s partners left the firm earlier this year under what Tughan’s then described as an “internal matter”. Of course nobody knows except Tughan’s and the ex-partner whether or not these are related.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Perhaps you’re right. Seems remarkable, all the same, that a £7m fee went to an offshore account in the first place.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Tughan’s in their statement say that the money was “fees for professional services”. The ex-partner could have been diverting little pieces of fees due to the company over a long period of time.

  • Jeffrey Peel
  • Jeff

    I know it’s silly season, but when did Mick Wallace become a reliable witness?

    And I know the BBC, et al, covered his abuse of parliamentary privilege claim, but that’s no excuse.

    It’s a dubious claim by a dubious politician whose real target is NAMA. The rest is mere window dressing. Call it ‘catnip’ for the media.

    Ask yourself what exactly a “Northern Ireland politician” was expected to be able to deliver for £7million in this sale to Cerberus?
    As Catcher points out.

    Mr Wallace seems a bit ‘confused’ on that point.

    As the BBC report notes

    The BBC understands that Tughans have not been acting as Cerberus’ lawyers in Northern Ireland.

    Tughans said in a statement: “The practice is not linked to any political party nor has it ever made party political donations.”

    It went on: “We can confirm that a former partner diverted to an account of which he was the sole beneficiary professional fees due to the firm, without the knowledge of the partners.

    “We have since retrieved the money and he has left the practice.

    “Tughans reported the circumstances of the departure of the former partner to the Law Society.”

    And the one sensible contribution in the Dáil.

    Irish Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton advised Mr Wallace to take his concerns to the police.

    Where he’ll be treated with due diligence…

  • OneNI

    No party or politican has taken £7m. Are you saying that NI parties who dont have to publicly declare their donors couldnt have gradually drawn down this money (or even just the interest) over many years?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I’m saying a few things :

    – given that Tughan’s have said this is a matter of an employee (partner) stealing from them, and that they have recovered the money, none of this is anything to do with NI parties

    – that no NI party or politician is worth a £7m bribe

    – that no NI party or politician could have influenced the NAMA deal in favour of the beneficiaries in a way that would justify such a bribe

    – and that therefore, no bribe took place

    As such this is all a sideshow. There is nothing to see here. A partner in a legal firm stole from his fellow partners, was caught, and returned the money. If you’ve got some evidence that any politicians were in any way involved, by all means please share it with us.

  • whatif1984true

    Solicitors have a ‘tightly’ regulated accounts system which the Law Society regulates and polices to protect client’s monies (and maybe other matters which I am sure more knowledgeable people can identify). Quite what the outside auditors were doing is another question.

    Tughan’s as one of NI’s largest firms have no doubt a full time accountant in charge of financial recording. If a partner was less than straight forward about financial matters as is alleged, one wonders how this would not have noticed unless the money was transferred/paid bypassing the firm completely.

    All legal firms record time spent on client matters. If a huge fee went astray how could the fee actually charged be reconciled to the time spent on the matter. In larger matters time spent does not always equate to fee size, it might be an amount suggested as being in keeping with the importance/size of the matter being handled. A bit like the fee an estate agent charges irrespective of the amount of work actually done in relation to the sale of a property (anyone remember the boom days with bids galore).

    How £7m (unconfirmed by anyone) went astray is the main story here as well as the question which client matter produced the £7m fee and how much was actually charged as a fee which went through the firm’s books.

    One can only speculate in the absence of any hard information but the questions it raises about the financial dealings of Law firms and their regulation are intriguing. The notional politician/party, for whom the money was allegedly intended, may not exist and may turn out to be simply a misinformed guess to tie up unexplained elements of a half true story.

    As yet it seems we do not know who Tughans clients were, nor the matters the fees related to nor what the ‘internal’ matter was that caused the change in staff. The staff member who left is still, so far as we know, a person of good standing so far as the legal profession is concerned and surely that means that whilst there is a lot of smoke the fire wasn’t very big.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Yes. Isn’t being a top flight white collar worker wonderful ?

    We don’t know what exactly happened at Tughan’s other than what they have chosen to share with us. But at a lot of these big firms, in any industry, when something like this happens they usually prefer to deal with it internally rather than involving the police if possible. So they just said, resign and give the money back and there’ll be no more said.

    A fraud conviction for £7m would have to lead to some serious jail time, and a major police investigation, and both parties likely decided it would be mutually beneficial to avoid this.

    Had it not been for Mick Wallace nobody outside of legal circles would have known about any of this.

    But yes, you’re right with your point. Had this been a cashier in a bank branch stealing £1 coins the police would have been called immediately.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Yeah. I’d say the politician angle is imaginary.

    As you note we also don’t know that £7m was the amount involved.

    We also don’t know if the money in the account related to a single client or multiple clients spread over a period of time.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Very simple. It’s bad PR.

    “oh, Tughan’s ? Aren’t you the people the police were investigating ? Think I’ll take my business elsewhere .. oh you say you were cleared ? Good for you .. “

  • Jag

    “Ask yourself what exactly a “Northern Ireland politician” was expected to be able to deliver for £7million in this sale to Cerberus?”

    Well, one thing a politician *might* be expected to do in this sale was to provide confidential information to Cerberus about competing bids. Remember, NAMA liaised closely with NI politicians about its plans and there were two Nordie folks on a special NAMA board which considered Nordie aspects to NAMA’s affairs. Not beyond bounds of possibility that certain politicians would have useful information on bids and expressions of interest.

    The above is just theoretical of course, and just to counter your suggestion that a politician couldn’t possibly be in a position to assist Cerberus.

  • Jag

    How do you “divert” £7m to an offshore (Isle of Man) bank account “of which he was the sole beneficiary, without the knowledge of the partners” and remain a person of good standing?

    Was it all a simple clerical error?!

    I think there is a dark cloud hanging over Tughans credibility in all this. Why have they not reported the matter to the PSNI, not just the Law Society.

  • whatif1984true

    For the record Tughan’s don’t state the amount nor the location of the account.

  • Jag

    That’s true, both details are from Deputy Wallace’s allegations.

    You’d expect though, that these two details would be contested by Tughans if grossly inaccurate. I certainly would.

  • whatif1984true

    My guess is that they will say nothing more and ride out the storm, waiting for all of us to move on to the next news headline. Eventually (months/years hence) more information will become known.

  • barnshee

    It was just resting in his account

    http://fatherted.wikia.com/wiki/Ted_Crilly

  • Jag

    You might be right but I think there are just too many upset folks who have (substantial) skin in this game – you really are talking telephone numbers.

  • chrisjones2

    You seem very sure of all this …indeed almost to be representing some party? May we therefore ask – have you some inside track on this or interest? And even if you have, if one of your party was corrupt how would you know?

  • chrisjones2

    The Law Society? But they haven’t had a complaint.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    “without the knowledge of the partners” and remain a person of good standing?

    But he/she didn’t remain a person of good standing. They threw him out of their law firm.

    I think there is a dark cloud hanging over Tughans credibility in all this. Why have they not reported the matter to the PSNI, not just the Law Society.

    That’s a question for them. Theoretically, failing to disclose information of a crime is itself an offense. Being lawyers I’d guess they knew which side of that line they were on.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I’ve nothing to do with any of this personally, it just annoys me when I see politicians successfully distracting everyone with a non-story, and it’s not right that an otherwise reputable firm are being dragged through the mud.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    only if they are in a position to influence matters.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I still don’t think they’ll call the police in. The circumstances haven’t changed; the matter was resolved internally. There is no fraud to report.

    I must agree that I have my doubts about the legal profession’s ability to regulate itself and incidents like this don’t help. Nonetheless, there is no evidence of any criminality yet, and nobody has filed a police report. As such it’s unlikely that much more will happen.

    On your second point – in the absence of any evidence the simplest explanation fits best.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Tughan’s said the matter was reported to the Law Society.

  • Cosmo

    i notice the name Ian Coulter is mentioned in this piece
    ‘thrown under the bus by Tughans’ said elsewhere
    so, where has he moved on, to?
    http://m.globallegalpost.com/big-stories/belfast-law-firm-tughans-caught-up-in-7-million-storm-41380694/

  • Croiteir

    Can of worms? overegging the pudding surely – a can of worm is more like it.

  • Jag

    Ian Coulter is one of the most widely respected lawyers in Northern Ireland. His LinkedIn profile still says he a partner at Tughans, but that appears not to be the case.
    The allegations made by Deputy Mick Wallace are alarming, and, if it weren’t for Tughans confirming some details of the allegations as true, would be dismissed as just too outlandish to be true. Coulter is (or possibly, was) a pillar of society.

  • Cosmo

    yes, that’s why the expression ‘thrown under the bus’ by Tughans, may be relevant.
    Can Kieran Donnelly and team be wheeled in to analyse the situation?

  • Cosmo

    all innocent, til proved guilty – and if they can afford expensive enough legal teams, and know ‘where the bodies are buried’, they can anticipate a not enough evidence to go to trial, or a ‘not guilty’ result.

  • kensei

    It’s a shame he didn’t say “Sinn Fein politician” as then we could have had you all over it.

  • mickfealty

    Ken, don’t you worry, we will be.

    But Wallace has used parliamentary privilege to raise questions over a series of deals which have already been thoroughly investigated by the PSNI and the fecking Audit Office. Deputy Wallace is joining dots here with zero supporting evidence.

    Feck’s sake even Martin is saying it could be baseless. So, erm, what exactly are you picking Pete up for?

  • mickfealty

    Wallace’s allegations are full of holes and hopeful leaps of faith. You’d want to be very careful in drawing grave conclusions against others from them.

    Privilege covers him, not you or I!

  • mickfealty

    They are on it and have been on it for some time. Deputy Wallace seems not to have checked with the NIAO’s public schedule before he leapt into the breach…

  • Jag

    “But Wallace has used parliamentary privilege to raise questions over a series of deals which have already been thoroughly investigated by the PSNI”

    What on earth are you on about Mick? Name one, just one question over any deal raised by Mick Wallace that has been investigated by the PSNI?

    As for deals investigated by “audit office” (you mean the Dublin Comptroller and Auditor General?), it’s certainly the case that NAMA has demonstrated that it openly marketed assets that were subsequently flipped at a huge profit, but shouldn’t Mick challenge NAMA about the timing of its disposals, when the private sector has made such profits from public assets?

    As for MMG conceding it could be baseless, well, looks like SF is covering all bases by the emergency convening of the finance committee with Cerberus summoned, along with NAMA, Mick Wallace and Tughans.

  • mickfealty

    No need for that sort of incivility, here’s the report: http://goo.gl/1jZH7m.

    Read it very, very carefully before you come back to me particularly the part where the Comptroller and AG specifies what he is not qualifying his judgement on!

    There is a further review, which is ongoing. Mick is way off beam there, so far as I can see. And I don’t see anyone else (including yourself) coming up with anything other than hearsay.

    I have one major sensitivity on this matter: I don’t like getting sued. So be very very careful. I’ve red carded one idiot on this thread already.

  • Jag

    Ah, I see, you’re referring to Deputy Wallace’s allegations about the NIHE yesterday. I thought you were referring to NAMA deals, my mistake.

    Thanks for the NIAO report.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Indeed Mick, a few of those posting do not seem to realise that even coughing in a manner that can be construed as even vaguely sounding like someone’s name can call down punitive defamation claims. It’s even worse than England here!

  • Jag

    Mick, the other Mick’s allegations about the NIHE are a red herring as far as this thread is concerned. The central allegation is that there was an attempt to make an improper payment to an unnamed Northern Ireland politician as part of a NAMA land deal. Tughans and Ceberus have denied this allegation.

    The NIHE allegations made by Deputy Wallace yesterday were separate and go to his ongoing call for an investigation into the way NAMA is managed and conducts its business.

    I have studied section 4 of the NIAO report you linked to above. It does confirm concerns on the part of the CAGNI over certain disposals (paragraph 48 in particular). However, I agree with you that there is an error in what Deputy Wallace said (I can’t see how Frank Cushnahan was linked to the NIHE at all). If your point is, there is a mistake in what Deputy Wallace said about Frank Cushnahan, and by extrapolation, you can’t take him seriously on his central allegation, then I think that’s an unfair position.

    That CAGNI report is three years old. Para 40 of the report refers to a file being passed from the PSNI to the Public Prosecution Service in 2010 in respect of one property but there seemingly hasn’t been any prosecution. Do you know if the PSNI ever made a statement about its investigations? On the NIHE, Deputy Wallace was asking if it was appropriate for NAMA to continue to engage the chairman of the NIHE amid concerns about the irregularities referred to in the CAGNI report.

  • Jag

    “They are on it”

    On what, Mick? Concerns about certain transactions at the NIHE where a NAMA board member was employed? That’s irrelevant and unconnected to the central allegation made yesterday, that there was an attempt to make an improper payment to a NI politician in a NAMA land deal. That allegation has been denied by Tughans and Cerberus.

  • whatif1984true

    “a person of good standing so far as the legal profession is concerned”. I was only saying that so far as I know the person involved is still a practicing solicitor which would suggest their innocence.

  • mickfealty

    In other words, Mick did not follow the northern end of the story very far or thoroughly..

  • ted hagan

    If there was a tender process in the bidding for this massive deal then all sorts of shenanigans could have been going on, including the involvement of Northern politicians. I’m sure there wasn’t of course. Tughan were obviously seeking damage limitation. It couldn’t have worked out worse

  • Jag

    Being very, very careful about what I say.

    This is what Deputy Wallace said about NIHE last week

    “In June 2012, following consultation with the Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, and Mr. Sammy Wilson MLA, NAMA reappointed Mr. Frank Cushnahan and Mr. Brian Rowntree to the Northern Ireland Advisory Committee. Two weeks later, a report by a Northern Ireland auditor’s office seriously questioned the stewardship of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, which led to the resignation of Brian Rowntree and Frank Cushnahan. The report found breaches of housing executive guidelines in the sale of at least 27 land deals, the executive board being given wrong or no information relating to key property deals, favoured property speculators were allowed to buy land well under market value, expressions of interest from other parties not being declared or considered, and at times no reasons being offered for some off-market sales. These two individuals stayed in NAMA, one of them up until the summer of 2014. Does the Tánaiste think this was a good idea?”
    http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2015070200020?opendocument

    This is the NIAO (CAGNI) report published on 6th July 2012 to which Deputy Wallace was seemingly referring.
    http://www.niauditoffice.gov.uk/nihe_report_2011-12

    That audit report states (para 48)

    “The Housing
    Executive has a statutory duty13 to obtain “best consideration” for land disposals, except with the
    Department’s consent, and its Land and Property Manual states that this means selling on the open
    market by way of public tender. However, a significant proportion of these disposals were sold “offmarket”
    to preferred buyers. Phase I examined 27 disposals in detail, and reported a range of
    compliance issues including:

     Favouritism towards buyers in most off-market sales. Interest from other parties was not
    declared or considered;
     No justification for off-market sales. No exceptional circumstances were given to justify the
    off-market approach, no other options were considered and economic appraisals were only
    carried out in those cases where properties were vested;
     Disposals without proper valuations. These included cases where there were no valuations,
    out-of-date valuations, reduced valuations negotiated by buyers and valuations only
    obtained after approval had been given for the sale;
     Disposals without proper approval. Housing Executive procedures require Board approval
    for sales over £100,000 and CXBC approval over £50,000. The review found sales of up to £8
    million approved at Director level; and
     Board and Chief Executive approvals without key information or with wrong information [ENDS]”

    On 2nd July 2012, BBC reported the NIHE chairman Brian Rowntree resigned.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-18669790

    The precise reasons for the resignation don’t appear to be clear. The BBC reports the resignation came just ahead of a report by an accountancy firm into the NIHE’s relationship with Red Sky, but Brian does refer to ongoing tensions between NIHE and the Dept of Social Development.

    Despite the audit report which apparently refers to misgovernance at NIHE, there doesn’t appear to have been subsequent action by the PPS. The audit report does refer to at least one file being submitted by the PSNI to the PPS.

    I do not know how Frank Cushnahan was linked to NIHE as stated by Deputy Wallace. I think this is an erroneous reference by the Deputy.

    But this is one of several points made by Deputy Wallace who is angling for a full inquiry into NAMA’s activities. Deputy Wallace separately reminded the deputy prime minister in the same speech last week that when in Opposition, she had sought an oversight committee for NAMA.

    The central point in Deputy Wallace’s speech is the allegation of an improper payment to a politician, and I think it is unfair to take what the Deputy said about NIHE to accuse the Deputy of being erroneous on NIHE, and by extension, his credibility on the central allegation is in doubt. What Deputy Wallace said on NIHE seems to me to be substantially correct.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Curiouser and curiouser….

    The only thing that doesn’t seem right here is that one of our politicians would have the nouse.

    No names, no pack drill, so no deletion…..Mick?

  • Jag

    BTW, the Irish Times today reports

    “Both Mr Rowntree and Mr Cushnahan resigned from their positions with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in 2012.”

    http://www.irishtimes.com/business/retail-and-services/profile-who-are-nama-ni-appointees-named-by-wallace-1.2272609

    I’m not sure if that’s correct, what was Frank Cushnahan’s role at NIHE?

  • mickfealty

    Chris, that is sailing very close to the wind. Play the ball please!

  • mickfealty

    I’m saying people should be very carefully flinging mud around on the basis of an incomplete and in part incorrect allegation made under privilege. And that is *all* I am saying.

  • mickfealty

    Cosmo, read the rules.

  • mickfealty

    Well, Mick is working off rumours in that case which have been running around certain circles for months now. He’s relying on ‘sources’ without revealing them. So the imagination runs wild.

    Colour me sceptical until I see a source and preferably two on the politician angle. I think there are larger questions here at the Nama end about what anyone might do for £7 Million.

    Or, indeed, what effect such huge write downs will have on the original business.

    When you are talking about such huge discounts on publicly held debt, this figure might be considered by some to be small change.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    none of which is anything to do with the NAMA sale.

    And incidentally politicians have little if any input into the above. Planning interventions by ministers are public record, but most of the planning work is done by civil servants. Electricity connections and water connections are nothing at all to do with politicians.

  • Jag

    “I think there are larger questions here at the Nama end about what anyone might do for £7 Million”

    There are some people, eg Jimbo at TUV, this weekend asking what a law firm would do for £7m – it’s a mighty number of billable hours! Though, it should be stressed the £7m came from Deputy Wallace’s allegations and is not commented on in the statement from Tughans.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to learn there are errors in what Deputy Wallace said.There were errors – “significant errors” according to a Dublin judge – in what Deputy Wallace’s colleague, Catherine Murphy said about IBRC/Denis O’Brien but there was also substance which had led to a major Commission of Inquiry.Is the substance of Deputy Wallace’s allegations correct? I don’t know, both Cerberus and Tughans have denied there is, but as Mandy Rice-Davies would say…..

  • kalista63

    What’s the thing The Irish News has on this, today? I saw a very brief thing on Twitter

  • chrisjones2

    Drip drip …….this is getting curiouser and curiouser

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-33392861

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-33394153

    So who was hawking NAMAs portfolio around US Vulture Funds. I assume that our Politicians would have been too busy and too careful to get too exposed ……. but who was this?

    Were these official approaches from NAMA (unlikely as they were about to run an auction) or from third parties possibly seeking to insert themselves into the process in return for a consultation fee, for example? Perhaps they were just doing it from a sense of civic duty.

    In any case we need to know the Five Ws who, what, where, when and why?

    And are any of those involved connected by business, shared shareholdings or family to any parties involved?

    And then, as Deep Throat said, “follow the money”

  • Brian O’Neill

    Basically they say there is tapes of all the conversations.

  • chrisjones2

    Apologies Mick and Catcher. I didn’t intend to be pejorative. The tone / certainty of the prior comments just intrigued me – simply that

    The last sentence too was a simple statement. If I am a member of Party X and something wrong was happening I may feel compelled to defend colleagues and the Party and may honestly believe that’s the right thing to do. But in reality unless I have an inside track I will have no idea what is going on. Nixon, Clinton, Robert Maxwell are all good examples of this where colleagues believed them implicitly but were misled. Of course even if money was paid it could all be perfectly legal!!! Half the House of Lords makes its living legally by consultancy and brokering deals

    I know to be very careful on this one and it has a long way to run yet ….but the outcome will perhaps be very interesting

  • chrisjones2

    Heavens …this gets better and better by the hour.

    Well if its all recorded then that should shed a lot of light on events. Either way it may be entertaining

  • chrisjones2

    Sorry but one more point.

    As soon as there is a mention of money and politicians we assume the worst. I can think of several ways that a politician might ‘earn’ a large amount of money off a business deal perfectly legally. It all depends on what is done and how it is done.

    We all might think that in some cases they SHOULDN’T do that but that doesn’t make it illegal. Indeed, if its totally disconnected from their political role, would it even be reprehensible? Making money is not an intrinsicly bad thing

  • Catcher in the Rye

    No apology necessary, I think it was a fair question of you to ask and I can see why you would. But nobody’s going to take comments made from an anonymous account seriously irrespective of what they are. And once again, I can tell you that I have no connection of any kind to any of the individuals or parties involved here.

    Mandy McAuley has revealed a number of additional salient details. I think there almost certainly is going to be a significant story around the two Northern Ireland NAMA board members and their activities. McAuley alleges that the board members solicited commercial interest in the NAMA portfolio even though this would have amounted to a conflict of interest. That alone is serious enough an allegation that I think there now needs to be a police investigation into fraudulent activity and/or insider trading; and if that happens, all sorts of stuff is likely to come out.

  • D99

    OK Chris, you’re clearly enjoying this, so I’ll play along:

    Who was the £7m for?
    What did they have to do to earn it?
    Where did it come from?
    When was it paid?
    Why was it in an Isle of Man bank account?
    How did the entity that paid out the £7m benefit?

    But remember not to speculate out loud too much just yet, as you don’t have parliamentary privilege.

  • chrisjones2

    I missed that …where was it please?

  • chrisjones2

    Well perhaps one of them – or so its alleged

  • chrisjones2

    Mmmmmmmm Mandy McAuleys piece on BBC is intriguing

    On one level its an Irish story – NAMA is an organ of the Irish State so any issues are perhaps more for them than us. None the less interesting but more Irish politics than Northern Irish.

    But then there is the reference to others who were non-lawyers. Who were the alleged other parties who were to benefit and why?

  • chrisjones2

    Whoopps….found it. Wow

  • Zeno

    I’m thinking Wallace was set up here. He is a nuisance.

  • kalista63

    Thank you.

  • chrisjones2

    Many of these questions have been answered in part and from Mandy McAuleys interview it looks like BBC have been working on this for months

    As for me, I am not for speculating on anything. I will just site back on this one and enjoy the ride.

  • kalista63

    As soon as I saw this comment i could see the foolishness of it and its looking even more foolish this morning. After Mick Wallace’ and Clare Daly’s victorie over the police, attacks on them will always blow back. The speaker telling Wallace to go to the peelers was a nasty comment. as in, they’ll give you sod all son and you know.

    As for the main story, it might only be a few days or a week but clarity is coming quite quickly and already Wallace has, in parts so far, been vindicated already.

  • D99

    Yes, thanks for the link to Mandy McAuley’s interview. If, as tomorrow’s Irish News is suggesting, there are 30 hours of recordings related to this, it could get very interesting – especially for fans of ‘The Wire’.

    Plenty of twists and turns to come over the next week or two; and if the FBI become involved in the investigation, hold on to your hat!

  • Gingray

    Strangely Mick, 3 days later, you have not been all over it, but you and Pete are doing a good job of fighting the corner for our local politicians on this one.

    Land and money, hmm, I can understand why you want to pretend there is nothing in this.

  • mickfealty

    Really? And what do you think we’ve missed? (Or more importantly, what do you think has been misinformed in my comments to date?)

  • Gingray

    Mick, in reply to a comment about being all over this story, you promised that you will be. Not so sure thats the case.

    Not sure you have missed anything, I doubt much gets past you. However Northern Ireland loans worth some £3 billion are sold to an american company for £1.2 billion, with a local firm £7m in legal fees (Law Society is investigating), but the money ended up travelling to the Isle of Man, along with all other sorts of strange goings on (one of the NAMA advisors was based in the same legal firm, and another came from Red Sky – a company coincidentally

    which had trouble with politicians and £7m).

    So I cannot help but wonder why both you and Pete (who rarely posts below the line) are so keen in this particular instance to assure us there is nothing to see, time to move along now.

    I suppose one good thing from you actions, or lack thereoff, is that the unnamed politician is not from Sinn Fein or the SDLP. Otherwise I suspect you would have been “all over it.”

  • sadie

    With regard to the NAMA story. Lanyan Plaza was included in NAMA’S portfolio of Northern properties. NAMA spent 15 million refurbishing/finishing it off .After the deal was done with CERBERUS LPS [DEPT OF FINANCE] moved into it with 800 civil servants. So it would appear that the Government now pays rent to CERBERUS. lf individuals are unable to pay rates to LPS in NI especially commercial rates, they can be bankrupted by LPS and their properties taken off them. The properties may then be sold off at knockdown prices to investors. Interesting.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Who better than the bankers (Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin), the property developers (Mick Wallace) and the speculators (Shane Ross) to continuously tell us working people about the damage and dirty tricks the bankers, the property developers and the speculators get up to.

  • Cosmo

    Yes, I recall that there was a offshoot of (the old) Royal Bank of Scotland or Lloyds or an equally go-getting organisation, which specialised in doing something’ imaginative’ of this kind. The team (prematurely) closed down on loans, then took over the companies, asset-stripped them and re-sold the companies to their own (personal) advantage, via bonuses. I recall a court case – but can’t remember names just at moment.

  • Cosmo

    Would payment of ‘fees’ or ‘commission or a ‘bonus’, to an Isle of Man Account – be a simple way to avoid tax?

  • James Larkin

    I’d say just send this explanation on up to the House on the Hill and it will save the cost of any enquiry!

  • James Larkin

    So is there still ‘nothing to see here’ ?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Following up on my own comment – I must eat large amounts of humble pie at this stage, as it now sounds – preposterously – as if there was substantial import to Mick Wallace’s original allegations, and the detail of these allegations including names of non-lawyer beneficiaries are known within the journalist community in Northern Ireland.

    Further allegations have now been published – I will not repeat them here but the coming days are going to see a veritable legal sh*tstorm and we may well see a few high profile careers come crashing to a sudden end. Best sit back and watch the story unfold.

    What a tangled web we weave …

  • Gingray