Belfast Telegraph

Vulture fund out to get me, alleges TD Mick Wallace

By Shane Phelan

Irish parliamentarian Mick Wallace has claimed the vulture fund which applied to have him declared a bankrupt is "settling a score" after he raised concerns about the purchase of Nama's Northern Ireland loan portfolio, Project Eagle.

Mr Wallace is considering a legal challenge to the Dublin High Court application made by a subsidiary of giant US fund Cerberus.

Cerberus bought Project Eagle for £1.2bn in April 2014, a transaction which has been mired in controversy ever since Mr Wallace alleged £7m linked to the deal had been "reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or party". His comments helped spark investigations by the UK's National Crime Agency and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Two months after the Dail allegations, the vulture fund bought an Ulster Bank portfolio, Project Aran, which contained a distressed loan taken out by Mr Wallace's construction firm M&J Wallace. Cerberus subsidiary Promontoria (Aran) Ltd subsequently secured a €2m judgment against the Wexford politician last January and made an application for him to be adjudicated a bankrupt yesterday.

The case has been adjourned until December 5 to allow Mr Wallace to engage with a personal insolvency practitioner.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Wallace said he believed he was being pursued by Cerberus because of the concerns he had raised.

"You wouldn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this is settling a score for me exposing the payment of fixer's fees to get Project Eagle across the line," he said.

Mr Wallace said Cerberus had nothing to gain from making him bankrupt as his construction firm had been liquidated and his assets "commandeered" by four different banks.

A spokesman for Cerberus said it had no comment to make in relation to Mr Wallace's "settling a score" claim.

The fund has consistently denied any wrongdoing and says no improper or illegal fees were paid by it or on its behalf.

Belfast Telegraph


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