Here’s an interesting twist on the NAMA story. Independent TD Mick Wallace who broke the story in the Dail of a £7million deposit in an Isle of Man bank account which he alleged was “earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or party” now has an indirect interest in the story.
Ronald Quinlan reports:
Cerberus has acquired a mortgage Mr Wallace secured against one of his Dublin restaurants, La Taverna Di Bacco on Dublin’s Ormond Quay. The transaction formed part of the private equity giant’s €1.4bn recent acquisition from the Ulster Bank of Project Aran – a portfolio with a nominal value of €6bn secured by 5,400 properties across Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Cerberus has been at the centre of controversy since Mr Wallace claimed under Dail privilege on July 2 last that in the course of completing its other major Irish deal – the €1.6bn acquisition of Nama’s Northern Ireland loan book, codenamed ‘Project Eagle’ – a £7m fee to be paid to a law firm had been deposited in an offshore bank account and “earmarked” for a Northern Ireland politician or political party. Mr Wallace’s allegation has seen an inquiry established by Northern Ireland Assembly’s Finance Committee and led to a criminal investigation by the UK’s National Crime Agency.
Deputy Wallace has been cool on the idea of explaining this or subsequent statements to Stormont’s Finance Committee despite being one of those named by the Committee Chair Daithi McKay from the outset. He was also reluctant to be cross examined on the matter by the PAC at Leinster House.
As Quinlan notes, Cerberus’s Irish subsidiary, Promontoria (Aran) Ltd now has control of the restaurant’s mortgage with Ken Fennell of Deloitte being appointed receiver on 24th August, just seven weeks after Wallace made his revelations in Leinster House.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty