Former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes has said he is extremely angry at any suggestion there could be "criminality" in any transactions by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Dukes said it is the Government's "prerogative to have a review of anything they want to have a review of", but said he found it "outrageous" there was any mention of criminality or malpractice.

Mr Dukes added that he knew the Government felt it had to give in to political pressures, but claimed the situation was coming near a point of absurdity.

Last night, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan announced a review of the sale of construction firm Siteserv and other transactions by the IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank.

Speaking to RTÉ News today, Mr Noonan said the review would look at whether any of those transactions involved malpractice or criminality.

Michael Noonan outlines the scope of the review into IBRC transactions

Defending the bank's actions, Mr Dukes outlined a series of steps which ensured that the interests of IBRC were protected in the Siteserv transaction.

He said the board went through the deal in detail and there were regular reports to the board on the transaction. 

There were steps taken to deal with any conflict of interest issues, he said. 

Mr Dukes said the Department of Finance was involved and briefed on the process. 

"There was nothing hidden about this," he said.

Mr Dukes outlined a series of issues that the Department of Finance had with IBRC. 

Among these were Siteserv, the Quinn family, US group Blackstone and Topaz. 

Mr Dukes said comments regarding criminality "were totally out of place".

He added: "I am quite happy a review is taking place and I'm sure nothing untoward will be found."

Mr Dukes has traced the deterioration of his relationship with the Department of Finance to a request by the then head of the department John Moran to join the board of IBRC. 

Mr Dukes said he felt it would not be appropriate for Mr Moran to join the board. 

He added that Mr Moran "took the view that I was being obstructive." 

Mr Dukes also said he was "amused" to see that the Government had appointed special liquidators from KPMG to oversee a review of transactions at IBRC. 

Another division of KPMG had acted for Siteserv in its transaction with IBRC. 

It is understood that KPMG is putting steps in place to ensure there will be no conflict of interest when it conducts its review for the Department of Finance. 

Certain buyers excluded for tactical reasons

Mr Dukes said the decision to exclude certain categories of buyers from the sale of Siteserv was taken for tactical reasons.

He told the news conference that the process involving Siteserv, which went on for some months, was discussed at regular review meetings in the bank involving representatives of the Department of Finance, who looked from time-to-time at things that were going through the sales process.

Papers relating to the Siteserv process were included as part of the board pack and a copy of this always went to the department in advance of the board meeting, he said.

Mr Dukes insisted the approach taken in Anglo Irish Bank and IBRC post-nationalisation was very much focused on getting the best value for the shareholder and for the State.

Mr Dukes said he had spoken to the Mr Noonan on Tuesday 21 April on the phone, and had told him he was extremely concerned at what was coming out in relation to the Siteserv deal.

Mr Dukes said he had told the Minister that he and former IBRC chief executive Mike Aynsley would be looking for unredacted versions of the documents coming out.

He said subsequently both he and Mr Aynsley had asked the Department of Finance for copies of all documents from the Department dealing with either Mr Aynsley or himself.

Mr Dukes said he knew a number of aspects of the Siteserv deal would be controversial, but the conclusion was that the final shape of the deal was the one that gave the best value.

Regarding the payment to shareholders, Mr Dukes said the board of IBRC had had quite a discussion about it, and that there were views on the board that they didn't like this particular part of the deal.

However, he said that when he and other board members were told that it was that deal including the shareholder payment, or nothing, they came to the conclusion that they had better take that deal.

He said this information about the necessity of the shareholder payment was what Walter Hobbs, the independent expert appointed to oversea the Siteserv sale for IBRC, had told them.

Asked if he was considering any legal action on foot of things that had been said in recent days, Mr Dukes said "not now".

Asked if he had ever had any occasion to talk to the Taoiseach about any major IBRC deals, he said he did not think so.

Mr Dukes said he would give his full cooperation to the KPMG review.

Commenting on the transactions that were being handled by IBRC, Mr Dukes said board members were sensitive to the fact that there would be a great public interest in some of the actions the bank would take.

He said the Department of Finance was clearly sensitive to that as well.

He acknowledged that there were disagreements between IBRC and the Department about some of the high-profile situations.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, in relation to the €5m dividend paid to shareholders Mr Dukes said he had not been happy about this, and this was one of the issues which caused the board to take stock.

Mr Dukes said it was not the bank's place to take control of the sale of Siteserv, that the bank was a creditor of the company.

He said the board looked at receivership, and looked at calling in loans, but concluded that there was a far better prospect of a return for the bank from the sale of the company.

He said when the deal was put together it was €45m or nothing, and in the board's view €45m was far better than nothing.

O'Brien comments on Siteserv deal

Meanwhile, businessman Denis O'Brien told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that he did not run the selling process for the Siteserv deal; he was merely the buyer.

In his first public comments on the sale of Siteserv by IBRC to a company he controlled, Mr O'Brien said that he did not know what was going on with other offers.

He said since his company took over the company, employee numbers and revenues have doubled.

He concluded by saying he would be more than happy to appear before the PAC when and if it is examining the sale.

The man who oversaw the sale of Siteserv, Walter Hobbs, maintains the deal represented the best overall value.