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Nama: DUP's Sammy Wilson brands inquiry a 'Mickey Mouse exercise'

Published 03/12/2015

Former finance minister Sammy Wilson today branded an inquiry into Northern Ireland’s biggest ever property deal a “Mickey Mouse exercise”.

He accused Stormont’s finance committee of incompetence and bias in its probe into the sale of Nama’s northern property loans.

MLAs are investigating the £1.3billion sale of assets to US investment firm Cerberus.

Mr Wilson served as Finance Minister between July 2009 and July 2013.

In an opening address to the committee, he claimed the Nama sale - known as Project Eagle - was a good deal for Northern Ireland.

He said the Assembly has been very good at “finding gold and turning it into muck”, and this had happened with the committee’s inquiry.

The committee, Mr Wilson continued, had been guilty of “incompetence and bias”.

He said it took evidence from “useful idiots” - an apparent reference to Jamie Bryson.

Mr Bryson previously told the committee that First Minister Peter Robinson was among five people to receive a share of a “success fee” linked to the sale of assets.

Mr Robinson strongly denies Mr Bryson’s allegations, branding them “scurrilous and unfounded”.

Committee chair Daithi McKay defended its work.

He said its enquiries had uncovered a great deal of evidence which had been useful to Nama itself.

Nama sold its Northern Ireland portfolio to Cerberus last year.

The finance committee’s investigation follows allegations levelled in the Dail earlier this year by Independent TD Mick Wallace.

Using parliamentary privilege, Mr Wallace alleged that £7 million in an Isle of Man account linked to the deal was “reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or political party”.

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