Business Irish

Saturday 25 March 2017

Glass Bottle site settlement keeps McNamara's wealth private

Tim Healy and Thomas Molloy

A long-simmering dispute between developer Bernard McNamara and some of the country's richest men over the biggest land deal in Irish history was settled on confidential terms yesterday to allow Mr McNamara to keep details about his personal wealth out of the media.

The dispute centres on a €412m deal to develop the former Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend in Dublin that saw Mr McNamara combine forces with a consortium of investors organised by Davy Stockbrokers, financier Derek Quinlan and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

Mr McNamara has said he has no unencumbered assets and is unable to pay the €62.5m he owes the consortium.

The investors had said they understood Mr McNamara has "extensive assets" held personally or through Irish companies and offshore companies, partnerships, joint ventures or other instruments.

The proceedings were brought by Jersey-registered company Ringsend Property Ltd which represented investors, including Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughton, former Allied Irish Banks chairman Lochlann Quinn and the Coolmore Stud.

Their company secured summary judgment for €62.5m against Mr McNamara in January over the failure of one of his companies, Donatex, to repay loans advanced toward the glass bottle site. Mr McNamara had given a personal guarantee on loans for the site at Ringsend.

After securing that order in January, the investors brought further court proceedings for orders to assist them in executing the judgment.

In those proceedings, they secured an order requiring Mr McNamara to produce and file a statement of his assets and liabilities and reserved the right to cross-examine Mr McNamara about his financial position.

Mr McNamara sought the investors' consent to not have that statement of affairs made public.

His lawyers said he had not wanted "unnecessary material" being published in the media.

Agreed

It was agreed between the sides that a statement would be prepared and given to the investors but would not be filed in court at this stage, meaning it would not be made public.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly had granted the sides a number of adjournments to facilitate settlement talks but warned them earlier this month that the matter would proceed unless a settlement was achieved.

Yesterday, John Gleeson SC, for the investors, told the judge the sides had reached agreement on the investors' motion requiring Mr McNamara to file a statement of affairs.

Under that settlement, the motion was to be struck out with no order for costs and the court should also vacate its order of February 22 directing Mr McNamara file an affidavit of means.

Irish Independent

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