Two men bailed in €1.56bn Nama property deal probe

Two men bailed in €1.56bn Nama property deal probe

Two men arrested by fraud squad chiefs investigating the North’s biggest ever property deal have been released.

Searches were carried out in Co Down yesterday as part of inquiries into the record £1.2bn (€1.56bn) sale of assets and property loans to US investment fund Cerberus by the National Assets Management Agency (Nama).

The investigation by the National Crime Agency, the UK's lead policing body, was sparked by the discovery of a £7m (€9.08m) offshore transfer to an Isle of Man bank.

A spokesman said the two men had been bailed pending further inquiries.

A separate investigation into the affair is being run by the US Department of Justice's Securities and Exchange Commission and parliamentary inquiries have been carried out in Stormont and Dublin amid a raft of allegations about fixer fees behind the deal.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny rejected calls for a State inquiry, insisting that no allegations of wrongdoing had been made against Nama.

The so-called "bad bank" was set up at the height of the financial crisis to take property-linked loans off the books of bailed-out banks.

It signed off on the Project Eagle deal in April 2014 by selling 800 property-linked loans to Cerberus, a multibillion fund which boasts former US vice president Dan Quayle in its ranks.

But the sale has been dogged by controversy since allegations were first made under parliamentary privilege that some of the money in the Isle of Man account was destined for a politician.

Further revelations, also under parliamentary privilege, separately claimed £45m (€58.38m) had been earmarked for fixers and there were five beneficiaries of the £7m (€9.08m).

All parties involved in the £1.2bn (€1.56bn) transaction in 2014 have denied wrongdoing.

Cerberus won the auction by offering £1.241bn (€1.611bn) for loans linked to properties in the North when the reserve price was £1.24bn (€1.61bn).


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