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Stormont and Dublin under scrutiny in Nama probe

By Brian Hutton

A State inquiry in the Republic into the biggest property deal in Northern Ireland's history will investigate if dealings between Stormont and Dublin leaders were appropriate.

The Irish government has given the go-ahead for a commission of investigation into the Republic's toxic assets agency Nama and its controversial Project Eagle sale.

The massive collection of NI property loans, taken on by Nama after the economic crash, was sold to US investment fund Cerberus in April 2014.

The deal was "seriously deficient", the Irish parliament's Public Accounts Committee concluded earlier this year after a long-running probe into aspects of the sale. Another big investment company said last year it pulled out of buying the portfolio because it was asked for a fixer payment of £16m for three parties behind the scenes.

Agreeing terms of reference for an inquiry, the Dublin Cabinet said it would probe whether the sale was appropriate, if the price paid was appropriate and whether there were any conflicts of interest among Nama's Northern Ireland advisers.

It will also probe fees allegedly payable to a former adviser.

Furthermore, it will investigate if the decisions and actions of Dublin's Finance Minister Michael Noonan, "including communications with members and officials of the Northern Ireland Executive" and meetings with potential bidders, were appropriate.

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