‘Agency insider worked to secure deal for US firm’

Independent TD Mick Wallace has claimed in the Dáil that an “insider” at Nama worked with US capital firm Cerebus to secure a lucrative property deal.

The Wexford TD also accused Enda Kenny of being involved in a “cover-up” because he refused to order a top-level probe into goings-on at Nama.

Mr Wallace has repeatedly demanded the Taoiseach sets-up an independent commission of inquiry into the agency’s sale of its Northern assets for €1.2bn.

“You are the leader of this county… and you are ignoring serious issues I am raising,” he told the Dáil.

In heated exchanges, Mr Kenny reminded the TD that he was expected to use his Dáil privilege responsibly.

Mr Kenny insisted there was no “cover-up” and again urged Mr Wallace to take any evidence he had to the Public Accounts Committee so that the Dáil’s financial watchdog could look into the claims against Nama.

Mr Wallace said he did not have sufficient confidence in the committee’s ability to probe the matter which was why an outside inquiry needed to be established.

Mr Wallace told the Dáil the sale of Nama’s Northern portfolio, known as Project Eagle was “fixed” so Cerebus would secure the deal.

Mr Kenny said there was already an investigation in the North into the Project Eagle deal and that must be allowed to take its course.

A Nama spokesperson dismissed the allegations from Mr Wallace in an open letter to the TD.

“This is the latest in a long series of unsubstantiated allegations made by you relating to Nama.

“At no stage have you brought any of these allegations to the attention of Nama or given the agency any opportunity to respond to them.

“As a matter of fact, I can assure you that the assets purchased by Cerberus from Nama were sold after an open market sales process. Furthermore, I would point out that no one individual had authority to approve any sale and that only the board had such authority.

“Your most recent allegation against Nama, like those before, has been made under Dáil privilege and, as of yet, without you producing a shred of supporting evidence.

“I have sent you correspondence coinciding with Nama’s two most recent appearances at the PAC and have been very open in that correspondence in terms of Nama’s strong rebuttal of your allegations. In the interest of fairness and accuracy, I would ask you to engage with Nama to allow the agency the right of reply.

“If for some reason you are unable to engage with Nama, I would ask you to refer your allegations, and any proof you may have, to the gardaí so that they can be properly assessed by a competent authority.

“Otherwise, I can only assume that your only objective is to damage Nama as opposed to establishing the truth of what may or may not have happened at the periphery of the Project Eagle transaction in Northern Ireland,” the letter stated.

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