Irish Lawmaker to Help Police Probe ‘Cash-in-Bag’ Bribe Claim

An Irish lawmaker said he’s prepared to cooperate with a police investigation into his allegation that an official at the nation’s bad bank sought a bribe.

Mick Wallace said in parliament on Wednesday that a National Asset Management Agency official sought 15,000 euros ($16,340) in a bag from a debtor company to allow it to exit the agency’s control. Wallace said the unidentified official had also sought a second payment

NAMA’s chief executive officer, Brendan McDonagh, immediately asked police to investigate the claim, and said no evidence had been presented to the agency to back it up. In an interview with broadcaster RTE on Thursday, Wallace said while he had “no problem” helping police, he wanted a full inquiry into the agency.

“I’m not looking for heads, I’m looking for a proper investigation,” said Wallace. “The bigger problem here is I have serious reservations about the workings of NAMA.”

Set up in 2009, NAMA paid five banks 31.8 billion euros in bonds for loans with a par value of 74 billion euros and has been selling the assets since.

Separately, a Northern Irish assembly committee started to inquire a controversy around the purchase of loans in the region by Cerberus Capital Management LP from NAMA.

The agency won’t attend the Northern Irish hearing, a decision described as an insult by one committee member. NAMA chairman Frank Daly said last week that the agency is accountable to authorities south of the border.

“We believe they’re relevant to what we’re doing and that they should appear,” committee member Dominic Bradley said in a phone interview. “We’re going to go to the Minister for Finance and ask him to advise NAMA to attend - if that’s not successful we’ll have to resort to powers of compulsion.”

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