Mick Wallace discusses Nama official bribe claim with gardaí

A claim that a Nama official asked and received a €15,000 bribe have been discussed by gardaí and Independent TD Mick Wallace.

Mick Wallace discusses Nama official bribe claim with gardaí

The Wexford TD made the accusations in the Dáil last week and Nama asked gardaí to intervene, as the claims were casting a “dark shadow” over the agency’s officers.

Garda sources confirmed yesterday that Mr Wallace had provided a statement last Friday regarding his claims about Nama. It is understood he was interviewed for about an hour-and-a-half, after earlier in the week indicating he would be willing to talk to gardaí about information he had received from a source.

Mr Wallace had told the Dáil he knew of a construction company that wanted to exit the agency and discharge its debts. When the company reportedly asked the manager of its portfolio, it was told to pay €15,000 in a bag, Mr Wallace claimed.

“Two weeks later, the company delivered the money. A few weeks later, he demanded the same again,” the TD said.

He also alleged barristers, judges, solicitors, accountancy firms and bankers were in syndicates. He said the syndicates were transferred to Nama, but that the agency had not enforced or taken action, despite personal guarantees being attached.

Nama has strenuously denied the claims. Its CEO Brendan McDonagh last week asked the Garda Commissioner to investigate the claims.

Chief superintendent Patrick Lorden, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, is examining the allegations. If any wrongdoing or criminality is found, action will be taken, said Garda sources.

Nama yesterday refused to say if any of its officials had spoken to gardaí. In a statement, a spokesman said: “We welcome the fact that Deputy Wallace has met with the gardaí following our request to the gardaí that they investigate his allegations. We will now leave the matter with the gardaí to conduct any investigation as they see fit.”

Mr Wallace also used Dáil privilege to claim the purchase by US equity firm Cerberus of Nama’s €5.7bn Northern property loan book for €1.6bn resulted in stg£7m being lodged in an Isle of Man account, “earmarked” for a politician or party.

The Northern Executive’s finance committee has opened an investigation into the claims. The agency claims it got best value for money for the 850-property loan book and that the first agency officials knew about the Isle of Man payment was only in recent weeks, through the media. Police in the North have also opened an investigation into the allegations. Mr Wallace could not be reached yesterday to ascertain if he had, or would, co-operate with the inquiries. Nama has said it will not appear for Stormont’s hearings into the deal.

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