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‘Below-the-surface’ process in Siteserv sale
Pic: RollingNews.ie

07 Sep 2022 / ireland Print

‘Below-the-surface’ process in Siteserv sale

The Government says that the report of the Commission of Investigation (IBRC) on the sale of Siteserv “shines a light on unacceptable practices by certain parties” during the process.

The commission, headed by Mr Justice Brian Cregan, was set up in June 2015 to investigate certain transactions, activities and management decisions at the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), which was set up in the wake of Anglo Irish Bank’s nationalisation.

Its 1,500-page report on the sale of Siteserv to a company controlled by businessman Denis O’Brien was published today (7 September).

Misleading information

Among its findings was that the IBRC made its decision to approve the sale of the Siteserv Group in good faith, but based on misleading and incomplete information provided to it by the company.

It also found that there was a “below-the-surface” process, where certain events occurred in the course of the sale process without the knowledge of the bank.

This meant, according to the commission, that steps were taken and decisions made in the course of the Siteserv sale process in a manner that was “manifestly improper”, and undermined the integrity of the sale process.

Not commercially sound

The commission has also determined that it can be concluded that the Siteserv transaction was, from the perspective of the bank, not commercially sound.

It concludes the bank could have recovered up to €8.7 million more than the €44.3 million it agreed to accept in the sale.

On interest rates, the report finds that IBRC's credit policy was "generally complied with" in relation to the Siteserv loan and transaction, and that the bank's procedures and controls at the time were "fit for purpose"

A Government statement said that the Taoiseach was arranging to bring relevant recommendations made by the commission in the report to the attention of a number of agencies – including Revenue and the Corporate Enforcement Agency.

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