MILLIONAIRE businessman Bill Cullen's Europa Academy was paid an eye-watering €1.228m by Fas for the rental of facilities for 400 apprentices and to 'upskill' motor technicians over a five-year period, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show how the company controlled by the star of TV3's The Apprentice pulled in hundreds of thousands of euro from Fas each year between 2006 and 2010 to help it meet what it described as "increased employer demand for apprentice training".
But while Fas insisted last night that it was "satisfied taxpayers' money was appropriately spent and that value for money was achieved", Mr Cullen's own spokesman admitted to being taken aback by the €1.228m paid to the Europa Academy.
"Holy shit! That much?" he blurted out, before regaining his composure to add: "He competed for the contracts on a commercial basis, the same as everybody else and he's just extremely competitive. It's as simple as that. It's Fas who approved the contracts."