Tag Archives: Nama

Former Player Wills tobacco factory on the South Circular Road, Dublin 8

A petition has been posted on Uplift, calling for affordable homes and “appropriate community facilities” to be built at the former Player Wills tobacco factory on the South Circular Road in Dublin 8.

The petition, posted by Rebecca Moynihan, says:

For over a decade now the Player Wills’ site on the South Circular Road has laid vacant. The site has been passed into the hands of NAMA with Grant Thornton appointed as receivers.

This site has the potential to have develop over 500 affordable homes with appropriate community facilities, in order to develop a sustainable community for decades to come.

The Minister for Housing should intervene to stop this land being transferred to a private equity firm and develop the site as cost rental and affordable housing to ensure that the housing needs of our citizens is met.

The petition can be read in full here

Anyone?

Related: Player Wills site’s original developer may take it back from Nama (The Irish Times, November 10, 2018)

Pic: Builtdublin.com



Saturday.

Sandyford, Dublin 18 (opposite Stillorgan Luas station)

Activists from Dundrum Housing Action Group drill a ‘Not For Sale sign at a site listed for residential housing development during a 24 hr protest.

The site, with planning permission for 459 apartments opposite Stillorgan Luas stop, is owned by NAMA and the group want it used for social housing.

Dundrum Housing Action Group

Previously: Sandyford site for 459 apartments guiding €36m (irish Times, October 31)

 Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie, third pic via Dundrum Housing Action Group

Independent TD Mick Wallace in the Dáil last week on vulture funds and real estate investment trusts (REITs)

Mick tweetz:

Vulture Funds have caused untold damage in Ireland, but they couldn’t have done so without the 100% support of the Fine Gael/Labour & FG/Ind Alliance Governments, not to mention their beautiful relationship with our friends in NAMA…

Thanks Gemma

The Department of Housing confirmed to The Sunday Business Post that a number of homes which were sold by Nama to Cerberus in recent years are part of a portfolio of properties under offer by the Housing Agency.

The homes are contained in a portfolio of almost 200 homes currently under negotiation between the Housing Agency and Cerberus, code-named Project CB by the state authority.

The Department of Housing confirmed that 26 of the homes in the portfolio were previously controlled by Nama.

“The vast majority of properties being progressed in the current transaction are not related to state institutions or state-financed institutions. A small number of properties have loan charges that were acquired from Nama by Cerberus,” a spokesman for the agency said.

State pays market price to buy back properties sold at discount to vulture funds (Jack Horgan-Jones, Sunday Business Post)

Frank Connolly

Yesterday.

In the Sunday Business Post.

It was reported that a book by investigative journalist Frank Connolly, called Nama-land, will be published by Gill & Macmillan in October.

Tom Lyons reported:

A book to be published in October is expected to contain significant revelations concerning the operations of Nama and the manner in which its disposal of public assets has transformed property ownership and created a new elite in Ireland.

Written by investigative journalist Frank Connolly, Nama-land details events from the establishment of the ‘bad bank’ in 2009 and its management and subsequent sale of huge property portfolios, mainly to US vulture funds over recent years. It examines how the process has enriched international investors and their local agents against the background of a deepening housing and mortgage crisis.

It also looks at the role of key players in politics and business, North and South, including in the controversial sale by Nama of its Northern Ireland portfolio, Project Eagle, to US fund Cerberus in 2014.

“I hope it will get behind what has been something of a veil of secrecy surrounding the operations of Nama and the largest disposal of public assets in the history of the state. It is based on research, facts and investigative journalism and will be published in October,” Connolly said.

Book to lift lid on Nama’s operations and their fallout (The Sunday Business Post)

Rollingnews

Trevor, of Igloo Animations, writes:

This is the first clip from Igloo Animations’ new animated adult comedy show titled ‘Fantasy Ireland’ – which we are currently developing.

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Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

Yesterday.

In the Sunday Business Post.

Further to the newspaper’s report last week that the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, the Department of Finance and Nama have been heavily criticised in a draft report by the Public Accounts Committee – in relation to Nama’s sale of its Northern Ireland loan book, known as Project Eagle…

And that, specifically, it was “not appropriate” for Noonan or Nama to meet with Cerberus the day before the Project Eagle bid closing date…

Jack Horgan-Jones and Hugh O’Connell reported:

Noonan has rebutted the finding, contained in the committee’s draft working paper and published by this newspaper last week, that it was “not appropriate” for him to meet with the US fund prior to its €1.6 billion purchase of Nama’s Northern portfolio. The draft said this could be perceived as “special treatment”.

…In a letter to the committee last week, Noonan expressed “great concern” over the draft findings, saying they were “extremely damaging” to him. He maintains that the meetings were not inappropriate and that he was never given a right of reply.

But committee members are doubling down this weekend. “Everybody agrees the fact that he met them is a problem. Everybody understands. Nobody can say it was a good idea to meet Cerberus on the day of the bids,” a PAC source said.

“The point of that whole meeting, the potential impression that meeting gave, will remain in [the report] . . . The essence of that meeting happening at that time and the impression of that meeting and having such access at that critical time will be in the final report.”

Another committee source said that while the language around the finding may change, it is extremely unlikely to be removed altogether.

Fine Gael TDs on the committee have indicated they will attempt to block any report which states that Noonan did not act appropriately.

PAC stands firm over criticism of Noonan-Cerberus meeting (Jack Horgan-Jones, Hugh O’Connell, The Sunday Business Post)

Rollingnews

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Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

In case you missed it.

At the weekend…

Hugh O’Connell and Jack Horgan-Jones, in the Sunday Business Post, reported:

Michael Noonan, the Department of Finance and Nama have all been heavily criticised in a damning secret report prepared for TDs investigating the sale of Project Eagle.

Nama’s controversial €1.6 billion sale of its Northern Ireland loan book three years ago is the subject of a number of damaging conclusions in a draft working paper to be discussed by TDs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

It ultimately concludes that Nama’s sales strategy could be described as “flawed” and it has been “unable to demonstrate” that it got value for the Irish state.

The paper said it was “not appropriate” for the Department of Finance to meet with the ultimately successful bidder, Cerberus, in the days before the closing date for Project Eagle bids. It similarly states that it was “not appropriate” for Noonan or Nama to meet with Cerberus the day before the Project Eagle bid closing date – and that this could be perceived as “special treatment”.

The Public Accounts Committee will meet in private at 5pm tomorrow and then in public at 10am on Thursday.

Report: Noonan acted inappropriately – Nama sale flawed (Sunday Business Post)

Nama failed in corporate governance of Project Eagle, says draft PAC paper (Sunday Business Post)

Previously: Spotlight Falls On Noonan

Rollingnews

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bank-of-ireland-logo

Logos of Nama and Bank of Ireland

You may recall the Dáil debate on Wednesday in which Nama was discussed in detail.

During it, Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy spoke about Bank of Ireland in respect of Nama.

She questioned the legality of Nama selling assets it obtained from Bank of Ireland, to entities such as Cerberus, when – according to financial consultants she has spoken with – the assets were owned by the Irish Central Bank-European Central Bank, and not the Bank of Ireland.

Reading part of a document that she obtained, into the Dáil record, Ms Murphy said:

“It appears that Bank of Ireland has delayed the recognition of losses with the financial position of Bank of Ireland being portrayed incorrectly when the bank drew down emergency funding from the Irish Central Bank-ECB.

“In an effort to delay the recognition of losses, Bank of Ireland relied on the International Accountancy Standards Board, IASB, rules. The particular rules in question, IAS 39 and IFRS 9, only apply to published accounts.

“However, IASB is a private entity and company law supersedes IASB. In 2010, the then governor of the Irish Central Bank, Patrick Honohan, raised concerns that Irish banks were delaying the recognition of losses, and the problems it was causing from a regulatory perspective.

“In addition, it appears that the financial position of Bank of Ireland was not portrayed correctly in accordance with the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board, CARB, when the bank drew down its funds from the Irish Central Bank-ECB.

“NAMA claimed to have acquired approximately €10 billion in assets from Bank of Ireland in 2010. Some of these assets were sold by NAMA to Cerberus, but Bank of Ireland appears to have portrayed ownership of these assets when the assets were, in fact, owned by the Irish Central Bank-ECB by virtue of the aforementioned company law rules.

“In the Bank of Ireland’s interim accounts 2011, page 100, it states that the ownership of the assets would be de-recognised when substantially all the risk and rewards of the ownership have been transferred to NAMA. This would only occur when the ownership of beneficial interests was legally transferred to NAMA.

“As such, the situation is that NAMA stated it had acquired assets from Bank of Ireland when according to research and company law they were not Bank of Ireland’s to sell.”

Readers will note that Ms Murphy raised similar concerns at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on January 19 and also raised the matter briefly on TV3’s Tonight with Vincent Browne on Wednesday evening.

In addition, also in the Dáil on Wednesday, Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace spoke about a financial consultant Cormac Burke who has been working with the Namaleaks team.

Mr Wallace said:

“Cormac Butler has also been making the point that when Wilbur Ross  – Donald Trump’s secretary of congress nominee – purchased Bank of Ireland shares in 2011 and then flipped them in 2014, for a profit of €477million, he did so with the advantage of having access to the financial position of the bank which was not in the public domain, information which was not available to smaller shareholders.

I’d like the minister to confirm or deny that his, that his officials are now aware that the activities of Wilbur Ross and his sale of Bank of Ireland shares is the subject of an investigation in the US. “

Further to this…

Saoirse McGarrigle writes:

Two financial experts Ed Heaphy and Cormac Butler have been analysing the banking crisis for the past eight years.

They claim that Bank of Ireland deliberately hid the extent of massive losses for five years because, if it failed, their assets would automatically be taken over by the European Central Bank (ECB).

They also claim the ECB itself was aware of how dangerously close Bank of Ireland was to insolvency – where a bank has suffered huge losses and has not enough assets to meet its liabilities – but continued bailing it out.

It means that Bank of Ireland’s bad debts should never have been transferred to Nama in the first place.

Mr Heaphy said: “When a bank is insolvent the ECB automatically assumes control of its assets. The Bank of Ireland was not the true owners of the assets and therefore it should not have transferred them to NAMA.”

Mr Butler said: “A bank automatically becomes insolvent if it hides substantial losses because creditors will refuse to provide funding to banks that fail to keep proper books of accounts.

“This forces the bank to sell assets at distressed prices.

“Bank of Ireland uses mortgages to give to the Central Bank as collateral. Some of the collateral had fallen substantially in value, but Bank of Ireland never disclosed these significant losses.

“The value of the mortgages used as collateral by the Bank of Ireland fell for two reasons. Customers pledged their property as security for the mortgage and that fell in value. Also customers lost the ability to repay because people had lost their jobs.

“This is in breach of the Companies Act 1990 – the failure of banks to recognise losses from the mortgages falling in value is a breach of company law because it is difficult to see if the bank is solvent. They were insolvent but they weren’t disclosing it.”

Mr Heaphy added: “They [BOI] admitted in the Banking Inquiry that they exploited a supposed loophole in the accounting standards which apparently allowed them to hide their losses.

“In fact, the law requires them to write down the value of the mortgages, but they thought that they didn’t have to. It’s their ignorance of the law. The bank was no longer the true owners of the assets, the ECB should not have transferred assets to NAMA.

“But if the ECB had confirmed they owned the assets, it would be admitting Bank of Ireland was insolvent.”

Mr Butler added: “If they (ECB) admit the insolvency then they wouldn’t get their money back. The ECB, like any other creditor, is not allowed to take back loans it advanced to an insolvent bank.”

“In such cases, the bank must be liquidated with broadly all creditors treated equally. By keeping quiet about the commercial bank’s insolvency the ECB was able to transfer its losses to the Irish government, which is potentially illegal.”

Auditors Price Waterhouse Cooper never disclosed that the bank was either insolvent or very close to it.

On October 15, 2010, the then ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet threatened to withdraw extra funding because of fears that the Irish banks were not ‘financially sound’.

His solution was for the Irish government to inject fresh funds into the bank so that he could withdraw illegally the loans he advanced.

Hedge funds bought Bank of Ireland bonds at distressed prices and said that they wanted the 100% price back.

Mr Butler added: “The Government said ‘no they must take responsibility for some of the losses’, but the hedge funds said because Bank of Ireland has not admitted to the losses, we don’t have to take any losses.

“The hedge fund should have taken the losses, but the Government faced legal challenges and therefore decided not to burn the bondholders.

“Bank of Ireland had a lot of losses built up which were hidden therefore the hedge fund claimed that Bank of Ireland was solvent.”

Mr Heaphy added: “The Irish Government paid dearly for its failure to admit that some losses were hidden.

“It left the hedge funds with an opportunity to profit at the expense of the Irish taxpayer.”

Saoirse McGarrigle is a journalist with the Irish Daily Mirror

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In case you missed Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday about Nama.

A new video synopsising Mr Wallace’s points.

It follows a similar video compilation, published in January 2016, about Mr Wallace’s efforts in previous months to highlight his concerns related to Nama.

Previously: ‘Nama Sold A Site Worth €120m For €42.5m’

Mick’s Tape