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Cerberus investment fund is to snub probe

By David Young

Published 17/09/2015

The US investment fund that bought Nama's assets in Northern Ireland for in excess of £1 billion will not appear before a Stormont inquiry investigating the controversial sale.

Cerberus said it would not send a representative to give oral evidence to the finance committee amid concerns about "jeopardising" the ongoing criminal investigation into the deal.

The UK's National Crime Agency is probing the sale after claims were made in the Irish parliament that £7m of the millions of legal fees involved in the transaction had been earmarked for an unnamed Northern Ireland politician.

Political watchdogs either side of the Irish border are examining the sale of the huge Northern Ireland property portfolio of Nama - the so-called bad bank set up by the Irish Government to deal with at-risk loans.

All parties involved in the transaction have vehemently denied acting unlawfully.

A Cerberus spokesman, who stressed the investment fund had not been accused of wrongdoing, acknowledged the Stormont committee had an important oversight role.

"As a responsible corporate citizen, we wish to provide appropriate assistance to the committee while respecting the constraints under which it operates," he said.

"Nevertheless, we believe that we must act with care to ensure that we do not jeopardise the criminal or judicial process, nor the lawful interests of others, such as the borrowers with whom we have contractual relationships.

"As such, Cerberus believes we can best assist the committee by way of written submission, which we are advised lawfully addresses the issues that are germane to the committee.

"The submission is provided in lieu of sending a representative to the committee on 23 September 2015. We are confident that the committee will find our submission beneficial to its deliberations."

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