Probe into Siteserv deal was limited to IBRC side

The Central Bank’s 2012 investigation into the controversial Siteserv deal was limited to the IBRC side of the transaction only and did not involve any inquiry into issues surrounding the company itself.

Outgoing Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan confirmed the scope of the examination, which took place on foot of a “whistleblower” complaint, at the launch of the Central Bank’s 2014 annual report.

Responding to queries about the high-profile deal between IBRC and the Denis O’Brien firm Millington in March 2012, Prof Honohan said he wanted to answer “with a very straight bat”. Taking out a paper with the “exact wording” of what happened, he explained the Central Bank did examine the Siteserv deal at an “appropriately senior level” after allegations were made.

He declined to specify exactly what the claims were, due to “whistleblower policy”, but noted the group would not investigate “vague allegations”.

When asked about what checks were made, Prof Honohan said they were limited to the IBRC side of the deal and specifically its management and oversight structures. He said “no attempt was made to try to second-guess commercial decisions” by IBRC, a comment which relates to questions about why the bank wrote off €105m in the deal.

The Siteserv controversy is set to continue next week when Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin receives answers to parliamentary questions.

Independent TD Catherine Murphy will also put down a Dáil motion calling on Finance Minister Michael Noonan to address claims he withheld details from the public.

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