Tag Archives: Nama

Frank Cushnahan1.jpg

Former Nama adviser Frank Cushnahan

Five months after Independent TD Mick Wallace first raised concerns about the sale of Nama’s northern Ireland portfolio in the Dáil…

BBC reports:

“The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) has written to a former adviser asking him why he did not disclose potential conflicts of interest.

“Frank Cushnahan sat on Nama’s Northern Ireland advisory committee from 2010 until November 2013.”

“A Stormont inquiry heard he met the Pimco investment fund in May 2013 to discuss Nama’s Northern Ireland loans.”

“Nama has asked him to comment on how he determined he was not required to tell them about that meeting.”

It has also asked him to provide details of any other meetings with Pimco or “other parties” in relation to the possible sale of the Northern Ireland loans portfolio.

“Mr Cushnahan went on to advise Pimco after he left his Nama role and was in line to receive a £5m fee if its bid for the portfolio was successful, an Irish parliamentary committee was told.”

“… Nama has also asked Mr Cushnahan why he did not disclose his shareholding in the Graham property group, which was a Nama debtor.”

“…Mr Cushnahan has always denied any wrongdoing in relation to his Nama role.”


Nama deal: Frank Cushnahan asked to explain non-disclosure of potential conflicts of interest (BBC)

Cushnahan may face State ethics watchdog over Project Eagle deal (Irish Times)

Previously: ‘Nama’s Answer To My Question Is Not True’

The Eagle Has Landed

“What Did They Get The €5million For?”

Project Eagle And The €3.5 Billion Haircut

Pic: Irish News


Political blogger Jamie Bryson, above, won’t be attending the Public Accounts Committee tomorrow, as originally planned.

Nama will be appearing before the committee tomorrow at 10am.

Mr Bryson told the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Finance Committee on September 23 that Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson [and four businessmen] were set to receive a ‘success’ fee following the sale of Nama’s NI portfolio.

Meanwhile, Mr Bryson’s written submission to the Northern Ireland committee can be read here

Previously: Nothing To See Here

‘Cerberus Told Me I Was Going To Get Sorted’

The Eagle Has Landed


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From left: Ian Kehoe, editor of the Sunday Business Post, Independent TD Mick Wallace, Tara Deasy, community activist, political blogger Jamie Bryson, joint-leader of the Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy, Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway, Cliódhna Russell of TheJournal.ie and Siobhán O’Donoghue, of Uplift, on last night’s Tonight With Vincent Browne

You may recall how NAMA sold its Northern Ireland €5.7million loan book – known as Project Eagle – to US investment fund Cerberus for €1.6million in 2014.

In July Independent TD Mick Wallace told the Dáil that £7million was found in an Isle of Man account following an audit of Belfast law firm Tughans – which was hired by New York legal firm Brown Rudnick to help Cerberus buy Project Eagle.

Mr Wallace claimed part of that  £7million was earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or party.

On foot of these claims, the UK’s National Crime Agency and the US authorities are investigating the sale.

Readers will also recall how, yesterday during Leaders’ Questions, Mr Wallace told the Dáil that he was summoned to a meeting by a ‘public figure’ during which he was warned by a ‘leading member of Cerberus Ireland’ that he was ‘going to get sorted’.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told Mr Wallace to take his concerns to a member of the Public Accounts Committee.

Last night, the matter was discussed on TV3’s Tonight With Vincent Browne.

Ian Kehoe: “I suppose Nama’s always been, I suppose, a state within a state. It’s almost impenetrable to find out exactly what’s been going on there. Part of that was out of necessity, part of it was that it was created so quickly. The position of Nama in relation to this and the position of the Government would appear to be and I think they’ve acknowledged privately that they have concerns around the buyer side, not around the seller side. And therefore, they’re the sellers, so there’s no worries. I don’t really think that’s good enough. I don’t think it’s likely. But I mean the Government set up a Commission of Investigation into the IBRC – Catherine Murphy did a lot of work on that – and again there was no real, full evidence, you know there was no documents linking it all back but they established that Commission of Investigation very, very quickly. Even with Michael Noonan saying – well, in the end, compared to what they’re doing here, Catherine – but with the Michael Noonan thing, we don’t think there was any allegation, any wrongdoing there. In this case we know that there was 7million pounds Sterling in an Isle of Man bank account, we know that one of the world’s largest private equity firms was asked to exit the initial race because of some allegations over third-party fixers. And the allegations keep on coming. Yet the position of the Government has been, and we also know it’s being investigated, should I say, and parts of it are by the FBI, by the US Department of Justice and by various authorities in Britain and Ireland. And yet the position in this jurisdiction has been, ‘there’s nothing to see here, folks’, ‘it’s somebody else’s problem’. I’m not sure that’s good enough because I think it damages Nama, as an institution, for them to be constantly questioned in this way. I think we should have a look at examining what went on.”

Catherine Murphy: “There’s a culture of secrecy and that’s part of the problem and that’s the way Nama was set up. But this culture of secrecy within the political system as well and they’ll  just try and bat this away and hope that somebody like Mick Wallace, or myself when it was the IBRC, will stop making a nuisance of ourselves. The reality of it is with both Nama and IBRC, this Government accelerated the sale of these distressed assets at a point where property values were coming up and where you would have had an entitlement to get more: that’s an issue in its own right. That the public have an entitlement..”

Vincent Browne: “It’s a big issue.”

Murphy: “Absolutely huge issue. And it’s the people’s money that they have done this with and the only purpose that seems to be served on that is that they can say at the end of the day, ‘oh we closed it up two years earlier or three years earlier’…”

Browne: “And they talk about it getting a profit. Wait ’til you see, they’ll talk about getting a profit.”

Murphy: “Yeah, huge, huge losses that are public losses and, in terms of the secrecy, last year I had the same problem and earlier this year when I was looking for even replies to parliamentary questions on IBRC. I was told, Michael Noonan went on the radio and he said, that I could always apply through the Freedom of Information Act. Well I applied through the Freedom of Information Act in the same family of things in relation to IBRC last May. I was due a reply to that in June. It was batted ahead until July. I’m still waiting and I’m now preparing to go to the Information Commissioner to make a formal complaint. That is the kind of behaviour that we’ve come to expect – batting it into a committee – and I think Mick is right on this, batting it into a committee is trying to kind of move it over to a sideshow and actually not deal with the issue at hand. And they’re very serious allegations that have been made.”

Watch back in full here

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Independent TD Mick Wallace told the Dáil today that he was ‘summoned’ to a meeting by a ‘public figure’ during which he was warned by a ‘leading member of Cerberus Ireland’.

Mr Wallace said the message relayed to him was that he was ‘going to get sorted’.

Cerberus bought NAMA’s Northern Ireland loans, otherwise known as Project Eagle.

Mick Wallace: “Taoiseach, in January 2014, US investor Blackstone acquired three properties from Project Platinum for €100million. They’re now looking to offload them for €170 [million]. That’s a profit of 70%, not 7, 70. Despite the fact that the buildings were yielding around 6% per annum in rents while Nama’s costs of money was less than one. Still, there was a panic to sell them. Taoiseach, following Pimco’s allegations, regarding kickbacks for fixers, why did Nama allow the deal to proceed with the same players, Brown Rudnick and Tughan’s involved. Did Nama report the Pimco allegations to the relevant law enforcement of the Government? And if they did, when? In a confidential letter, from Brown Rudnick, the minister for finance in the North, Sammy Wilson, Brown Rudnick admit to acting for two clients with strong interests in Project Eagle. Brown Rudnick ended up acting for Pimco and Cerberus which isn’t legal. This matter is now being investigated by the Securities and Exchange in America. Why did Nama have no concerns about the involvement of Brown Rudnick and Tughan’s, despite the revelations? Taoiseach, the reserve price for Project Eagle was €1.3billion. This was adjusted to €1.24billion, in April 2014, to reflect, Nama told us, asset disposals which took place in the intervening period between the launch of the loan sale and its closing. Can you find out, Taoiseach, what are the details of these disposals? Can you tell me Taoiseach, why the reserve price was reduced by €60million? Could you find out if this is connected to reports of a developer whose loans were in Project Eagle and he came to Nama to complain about being approached by fixers who were looking for a backhand in order for him to buy his loans back at 50p in the pound from Cerberus in the autumn of 2013, months before Cerberus even bought it. Can you find out, Taoiseach, if Nama actually done a deal with this developer? Can you tell us what disposals were involved with this €60million? Taoiseach, I raised this with you before the summer. Why are you insisted on doing nothing about this? Why don’t you want to get answers to the questions that are being raised? We have loads of questions, and there’s more every week, but we’ve no answers. Why aren’t you interested?”

Enda Kenny: “It’s not a question of not having interest, Deputy. The issue in respect of Nama and the Northern Ireland portfolio, for instance, there are two investigations going on here, one by the police and one by the parliamentary commission. Questions have been answered at some considerable length here in the house by the Minister for Finance on this matter and whatever papers or correspondence is necessary and available will be presented to either of those two investigations. Now, Pimco was dropped as you’re aware. Under the legislation, setting up Nama, Nama are responsible to the Houses of the Oireachtas, they’re before the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday. I suggest that the questions you’ve just asked here, and any other questions you have, be given to a member of the Public Accounts Commmittee to ask Nama directly on Thursday. They are responsible to the Houses of the Oireachtas. You have made, you have made strong statements, you’ve made comments or allegations about fixers, about bags of money, I suggest to you, Deputy Wallace, that if you can back up that information, you should bring it to the notice of the Comptroller and Auditor General immediately and to the police authorities. These are very serious allegations. And the questions that you raise, can be legitimately asked of Nama, at the Public Accounts Committee on this Thursday, they are responsible to this House here. And in respect of the matter of the Northern Ireland portfolio, there are two investigations going on there, outside this jurisdiction.”

Wallace: “Taoiseach I get the impression that you’re trying to hide behind the fig leaf of Oireachtas committees, I’ve already been to the guards, I’ve been to the National Crime Agency, the British who are looking into it. I’ve already been to both of them. Right. What I can’t understand is why you don’t want to know anything about it. Cerberus are under investigation, criminal investigation, in two countries and they still haven’t been disqualified into looking at Project Arrow and threatening to buy it. Project Arrow has a par value of €7.2 [billion] and it looks like it might be sold for something in the region of €1billion, despite that we have…and 50% of it is residential units in the Republic and we have a housing crisis. Where’s the logic of selling Project Arrow to someone like Cerberus, who are being investigated for criminal activity in two countries. Taoiseach, you couldn’t make this up. It’s absolute nonsense. Now listen, I realise these are serious players and actually, only recently, I was summoned to a meeting by a public figure and a message was passed on to me from a leading member of Cerberus Ireland that I was going to get sorted. Now why would they have to say that, if I’m telling the truth? Why would they? Can you understand that? Taoiseach…”

Ceann Comhairle (Sean Barrett): “Sorry this is Leaders’ Questions.”

Wallace: “…Are you actually going to seriously allow the questions that are swirling around Nama, as I’ve said before, Taoiseach, the workings of Nama have left too much to be desired and there’s a lot rotten about it. And Taoiseach is it going to be on your legacy that you ignored all this? Is it going to be a part of your history that you choose to ignore what’s going on in Nama?”

Barrett: “Thank you.”

Kenny: “That’s another allegation that you make and it will not be a part of our history. Nama is responsible to the Houses of the Oireachtas here, of which you are a member. You come in here, week after week, with very strong statements and allegations, I can’t say whether what you say is true or not, or whether you can back that up. I’m glad you’ve gone to the police force, I’m glad you’ve gone to the crime investigations unit but you yourself maybe don’t want these questions raised or have somebody raise them for you at the body to whom Nama is responsible and through whom they’re responsible to this House here. It’s not good enough for you, Deputy Wallace, to come in here. And if you’re the centre of attention for receiving these kinds of allegations, I hope that when they’re made to you, that you demand that proof be given because you have full privilege in here and…”

Wallace: [Inaudible]

Kenny: “…and I’m sure, I’m quite sure Deputy Wallace that you want to use that with responsibility. If there’s an issue here, the questions have been asked and the questions that have been answered by Nama mean that there’s nothing wrong on the seller side. If there’s anything wrong, it seems to be on the purchaser’s side. So I’d suggest to you, you write out your list of questions, these can be raised. You want to find out the truth about these issues well then we need to use the facility available to public representation in the public interest to ask these questions. I’d like that you’d furnish, to the Public Accounts Committee, the basis of the evidence given to you that will make the allegations you make stand up.”

Previously: The Eagle Has Landed

Project Eagle And The €3.5billion Haircut

Who Took The Bribe-In-A-Bag?


Hundreds queuing.

Waiting lists.

People wandering aimlessly.

Rose Doyle, in today’s Irish Times, reports:

Hamilton Park [in Castleknock] is funded by Nama. About half of the 44 houses in this first phase of three- and four-bedroom houses will be ready to move into before Christmas, the rest by spring 2016. Hamilton Park should be completed by 2018… The three-beds with 111sq m (1,200sq ft) and 112sq m (1,215sq ft) cost €395,000, the four-beds with 144sq m (1,550sq ft) and 150sq ft (1,615sq ft) are €490,000. A single, detached three-bedroom version is €425,000, and a detached four-bed, €550,000.

*jumps on ladder*

Pre-launch surge for homes in Castleknock (Irish Times)

NAMA and Social Housing

Previously: Meanwhile, In Castleknock


Blogger Jamie Bryson speaking at Northern Ireland Finance Committee this morning

And in the Dáil this morning during Leaders’ Questions…

Micheál Martin: “I want to raise with the Taoiseach the sale of NAMA’s Northern Ireland loan book, known as Project Eagle. This is the largest sale in which NAMA has engaged to date. We know from correspondence to the Minister, Deputy Noonan, at the time that even though misgivings were raised by one of the bidders – Pimco, which made NAMA aware of fee arrangements with third parties including NAMA’s adviser on the Northern Ireland advisory committee – the Minister did not suggest to NAMA that the whole thing should be stopped in light of the stench that was emerging at that early stage. Of course, we know about the fee arrangements between the solicitors’ firms – Brown Rudnick and Tughans – and third parties. Deputy Wallace has alluded to this in the Dáil. Again, no attempt was made stop the deal. People ticked the boxes and said they got assurances when Cerberus came in, despite the fact that they used the same solicitors’ firms and the same fee arrangements to which NAMA had been alerted by Pimco. When I raised this issue with the Taoiseach in July of this year, I outlined all of my concerns. There are fundamental issues here because it involves the taxpayer. According to a report in this morning’s The Irish News:

One of the bidders for Nama’s northern debt portfolio expressed concern in a letter to the Taoiseach’s office over the business practices of third parties leading up to the £1.2bn sale. Fortress Investment Group, [apparently] one of the final three potential buyers alongside US rivals Pimco and Cerberus Capital Management, is understood to have sent the letter to the Department of the Taoiseach in February 2014.

An Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett: “A question, please.”

Martin: “It seems that this letter “complained about business practices leading up to the sale of Nama’s loan book, dubbed Project Eagle”. Can the Taoiseach confirm that such a letter was sent to him and his Department? If so, can he confirm the contents of that letter and will he make arrangements to publish that letter? The Minister, Deputy Noonan, did not alert the Dáil at any stage about this entire saga until it was raised by a Deputy in the House. It is important for the Taoiseach to indicate whether he received such a letter. What happened in relation to any correspondence he received? What is his current position in relation to the ongoing investigations into Project Eagle?”

Enda Kenny: “This is a matter of very considerable concern. Obviously, questions about it have been raised and answered here previously. I think the Deputy said that a letter was sent to the office of the Taoiseach in February 2014. Is that his information?”

Martin: “That is what is being said.”

Kenny: “Yes. I do not know, but I will have it checked immediately. If such a letter was received, I will see what happened in respect of it being replied to or where that was sent to, I will have the letter published and I will come back to Deputy Martin as soon as possible. As I stand here, I cannot recall receiving a letter in February 2014. If the Deputy says it was sent to the office of the Taoiseach, I am sure there is a record. I will have it checked and I will respond to the Deputy as soon as I can.”

Martin: “I would appreciate it if the Taoiseach would do that. It appears that his office was asked to do so yesterday, but it did not respond to the questions that were put to it regarding this correspondence.”

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Hearing hears blogger claim of Robinson NAMA payment (RTE)

Previously: Project Eagle And The €3.5million Haircut

Pic: BBC Newsline

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Newstalk reports:

“Dublin West TD, Ruth Coppinger, along with three Anti-Austerity councillors are currently occupying a NAMA housing estate under construction at Diswellstown Manor site. She’s calling on NAMA to make the units social and affordable homes.”

“Deputy Coppinger said that she, along with 25 homeless families from the local area and some local people, have occupied one of the NAMA homes that have been built.”

“‘This housing estate has about 120 houses and it’s going to be sold on the open market for a very high price but yet we have 120 homeless families in Blanchardstown alone in emergency accommodation.'”

Ruth Coppinger and three Anti-Austerity councillors are currently occupying a NAMA housing estate (Newstalk)

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Independent TD Mick Wallace

Readers may recall a Bloomberg report from earlier this week about how a shortlist of three bidders for the largest loan portfolio every put up for sale by Nama – called Project Arrow – includes Cerberus Capital Management LP.

Last year Cerberus bought Nama’s Northern Ireland loan portfolio – called Project Eagle. In the Dáil last month Independent TD Mick Wallace claimed the Project Eagle sale involved over 850 properties with a par value of €4.5billion for less than €1.5billion.

The Project Eagle sale was the subject of a Public Accounts Committee meeting last month and is the subject of a criminal inquiry by the PSNI, following further claims made by Mr Wallace in the Dáil.

Mr Wallace claimed £7 million sterling ended up in an Isle of Man bank account which was reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or political party.


Further to this, Sarah Bardon, in the Irish Times, reports:

“An independent investigation into the sale of a multibillion-euro National Asset Management Agency portfolio, named Project Arrow, has been called for by Independent Wexford TD Mick Wallace… Mr Wallace also said he had received a number of new allegations about the workings of Nama and intends to make some of those public when the Dáil resumes in September.”

“A Nama spokesman said any allegation of wrongdoing should be sent to gardaí to be investigated. “Nama can make no comment on the allegations Mr Wallace plans to make using Dáil privilege as it has no information on what they are until he chooses to make them,” said the spokesman.”

Previously: Dough And Arrow

Laura Hutton/Rollingnews.ie