Northern Ireland

Nama deal: Department of Finance to be asked for more sale paperwork

Jim Allister
Image caption Jim Allister said Máirtín Ó Muilleoir is "an enthusiast for having the department reveal various papers"

The Department of Finance is to be asked to release further paperwork related to the £1.2bn sale of Northern Ireland property loans by the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

The Northern Ireland Assembly's finance committee is to write the department's minister, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.

The move was initiated by TUV MLA Jim Allister at a hearing on Wednesday.

The committee started investigating the circumstances of the Nama deal during the last assembly term.

Image caption Emma Little-Pengelly said she did not want a committee inquiry to "prejudice justice"

But it ran out of time before last month's assembly election to hear from all those it wanted to take evidence from.

Mr Allister described Mr Ó Muilleoir, who was a member of the previous finance committee, as "an enthusiast for having the department reveal various papers".

But a decision on whether the committee continues its inquiry into the sale will be made in the future.

The chair of the committee, the Democratic Unionist Party's Emma Little-Pengelly, said she would also ask the National Crime Agency for advice as she did "not want to prejudice justice".

The agency is investigating the deal and on Tuesday arrested two men in connection its inquiries who were later released on bail.

Image caption Nama sold its entire Northern Ireland loans portfolio to Cerberus in 2014

Nama, a state-owned so-called 'bad bank', was set up in the Republic of Ireland to take control of property loans made by the country's banks before the financial crash in 2008.

It sold all of its Northern Ireland property loans to Cerberus in April 2014.

Independent politician Mick Wallace first made claims about fixers' fees connected to the deal in the Irish parliament last July.

His allegations prompted the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Irish parliament to begin investigations into the deal.

The National Crime Agency, the UK's equivalent of the FBI, is carrying out a criminal investigation into the sale.