Hamilton Needs to Explain Cerberus Meeting

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:

“In all of my questions to DFP about the matter then Minister, Simon Hamilton, appeared most anxious to place as much distance as possible between himself and the sale of the NAMA loan book in Northern Ireland. In September last year, for example, I asked him to detail (i) what consultation took place with his Department over the sale of National Asset Management Agency’s (NAMA) Northern Ireland debt portfolio to Cerberus Capital Management; (ii) what role did Northern Ireland representatives on NAMA play; and (iii) the role played by his Department and the Northern Ireland Executive.

“Mr Hamilton replied: “My Department is not responsible for NAMA, which is an agency of the Irish Government. DFP did not have a role in the sale of NAMA’s Northern Ireland loan portfolio to Cerberus Capital Management.”

“However, we now know that Minister Hamilton – along with co-First Minister Peter Robinson – met Cerberus chairman Dan Quayle and Ian Coulter in March 2014.

“Why was Minister Hamilton so anxious to conceal his meeting with Cerberus when it came to answering my straightforward question? If Minister Hamilton did not play any part in the sale of the Northern Ireland debt portfolio what were he and Mr Robinson discussing with Cerberus just 10 days before they bought the Northern Ireland debts from NAMA for the knockdown price of £1.3 billion?

“Minister Hamilton needs to come clean on this matter and provide absolute clarity as to how he explains the discrepancy between his answer to my question of 15th September 2014 and what we now know about the meeting which took place in March 2014.

“A follow up question – tabled on Tuesday of last week to the current Finance Minister Mrs Foster – remains unanswered.”

Note to editors

Mr Allister’s questions on this matter are online here, here and here.

His follow up question reads as follows:
AQW 47957/11-15

To ask the Minister of Finance and Personnel, pursuant to AQW 35938/11-15, to detail the consultation that took place with her Department over the sale of National Asset Management Agency’s (NAMA) Northern Ireland debt portfolio to Cerberus Capital.

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