Two men are to be prosecuted over alleged fraud offences as part of the NCA investigation into the sale of the National Asset Management Agency’s Northern Ireland property loan book.

NCA investigators submitted a comprehensive file to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), who decided that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the two men in connection with suspected criminal activity around the property deal known as Project Eagle.

A 78-year-old man is to be charged with fraud offences, while a 49-year-old man is to be charged with fraud offences and concealing criminal property.

A date for their initial court hearing has yet to be set.

The NCA investigation examined, amongst other matters, the circumstances around the sale and attempted sale of NAMA’s Northern Ireland property loan book to two US investment firms in 2014.

Today’s decisions relate only to allegations investigated around Project Eagle. An NCA investigation into a number of additional matters, not connected to Project Eagle, remains ongoing.

NCA Deputy Director of Investigations Craig Naylor said:

“This operation has been and remains an incredibly complex investigation, which is of enormous importance to the public in Northern Ireland and beyond. Today’s announcement is therefore a significant milestone.

“I’m grateful to officers here in the NCA and colleagues in the PPS for their professionalism and commitment throughout, which has been instrumental in getting us to where we are.

“The investigation is not over yet. We have further lines of inquiry to follow up and we will continue to liaise as appropriate with PPS colleagues.”

PPS Assistant Director Ciaran McQuillan said:

“We have been working in close partnership with the National Crime Agency in respect of its wide-ranging investigation into the sale of Nama’s property loan book in Northern Ireland. We would like to take this opportunity to recognise the diligence of the NCA in this investigation and the comprehensive nature of their enquiries.

“A considerable volume of evidence submitted to the PPS has been painstakingly examined by a team of experienced and senior prosecutors, with the benefit of advice from two Senior Counsel.  As a result, it has been concluded that there is sufficient evidence for two of those reported to be prosecuted for a number of serious charges.

“Whilst the Test for Prosecution was met in respect of two suspects, it was considered not met on evidential grounds in respect of seven further individuals in respect of the Project Eagle investigation. All decisions were taken in full accordance with the PPS Code for Prosecutors and only after a thorough consideration of all issues.”

6 August 2020