New details

Missing files reveal Siteserv writedown was €9 million more than we previously thought

Previously undisclosed board minutes reveal new details about the Siteserv controversy.

THE STATE WROTE off €9 million more on the sale of Siteserv by IBRC than was previously suggested, according to newly-discovered documents from the Department of Finance.

Minutes of an IBRC board meeting from 15 March 2012 disclose that the company was sold to the Denis O’Brien-owned Millington for €45 million with a €5 million pay-out to shareholders as part of the deal.

According to the minutes, this amounted to a total writedown of €119 million, more than the previously reported figure of €110 million.

siteserv 119m

The minutes state:

Following consideration the board approved the proposal as presented namely (i) to proceed with the sale of Siteserv plc for €48 million (with net proceeds arising for the bank of €44.3 million) with (ii) a write-off of the balance of facilities of €119 million following the sale, however noting that the this was circa €10 million in excess of the current impairment provision.

The minutes were published on the department’s website last night after a filing error resulted in them only being discovered as officials compiled responses to FOI requests.

The filing error was played down by department sources last night who insisted that the discovery did not change the substance of what Finance Minister Michael Noonan previously told the Dáil, only a point of fact.

Noonan has maintained that he was only made aware of the Siteserv transaction after it was approved by the board of IBRC on 15 March 2012.

The same minutes also disclose that IBRC’s former head of asset management, Richard Woodhouse – who managed Denis O’Brien’s loans with IBRC – was present for the same 15 March meeting where the sale was discussed.


This would appear to contradict what Alan Dukes, the former IBRC chairman, said in a lengthy press conference on 24 April.

Dukes said at that time that Woodhouse was kept out of discussions over the Siterserv deal “as he also managed the relationship between the bank and Mr O’Brien”.

Contacted this evening, Dukes told that Woodhouse had been kept out of the discussions about the Siteserv process and he did “not play any part in putting the final proposal together”.

“He was at the board meeting where the decision was made, but he was there on another issue before the board, which was coming from the bit of the bank he was in charge in.”

Alan Dukes Sale of Siteserv Issues Scandals Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Dukes also drew attention to the minutes stating that Woodhouse informed the board of a letter from Virgo Capital “attesting to the fairness of the sales process which had been followed to date” in relation to Siteserv.

Speaking today, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he found the department’s explanation for the missing board minutes “difficult to comprehend”.

He claimed the department had made a “deliberate attempt” to prevent this news from getting out. He said there had been engagements between officials in IBRC and the department going back to 2009, according to his sources.

Martin added: “The way this continues to be handled falls well short of what the public expect.  The Government clearly hope that they have drawn a line under the crisis with the announcement of a Commission of Inquiry.  But the efforts we have seen to mislead the public have actually raised yet more questions to which we need answers.”

Read: ‘I listened to a lot of hysteria’: Enda breaks his silence on Denis O’Brien and IBRC

IBRC inquiry: Department of Finance reveals details of filing error

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