Taoiseach rejects call for inquiry into Nama's Northern loan book

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has rejected opposition calls for a commission of inquiry into the sale of Nama’s Northern loan book following the arrests of two men in a fraud probe linked to the sale.

Speaking during leaders’ questions, Mr Kenny said there are absolutely no allegations Nama did anything wrong in the near €1.5bn portfolio sale in 2014.

However, the Project Eagle sale has been dogged by controversy and is the subject of investigations in several jurisdictions, although no investigation is under way in the Republic.

Mr Kenny was speaking as searches were carried out in Co Down in connection with the inquiry into the £1.2bn (€1.5bn) sale of Nama assets and property to US investment firm Cerberus.

A National Crime Agency spokesman said: “Officers from the National Crime Agency... carried out two arrests and related searches in the Co Down area in connection with a fraud investigation. The operation is being assisted by the PSNI. As the investigation is continuing we are unable to comment further.”

The investigation was sparked following the discovery of a £7m offshore transfer to an Isle of Man accountcontrolled by a former managing partner of Belfastlaw firm Tughans. Tughans, which was involved in the Nama transaction after being subcontracted by Cerberus’s US lawyers Brown Rudnick, insisted it was not aware of the transfer.

A parliamentary committee at Stormont is carrying out a separate investigation into the Cerberus deal.

All parties involved in the £1.2bn transaction in 2014 have denied wrongdoing.

Mr Kenny was pressed on the matter by Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, who called for an investigation to be commissioned and for Finance Minister Michael Noonan to make a statement.


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