NAMA targets €160m of asset transfer by clients
Transfers by developers to family members are chased in a move to cut the exposure of taxpayers
Published 28/12/2011 | 05:00
MORE than €160m of asset transfers by developers have either already been reversed by NAMA or are close to being overturned, the Irish Independent has learned.
The new tally, which is expected to be announced shortly, is a dramatic increase on the €70m of reversals NAMA announced in September.
NAMA has also recently got additional security over €221m worth of assets, meaning the agency will recoup €221m more if the developers' involved default on their loans.
A spokesman for the toxic loans agency confirmed the figures' accuracy and said the combined €380m benefit to NAMA would cover "most" of NAMA's €500m running costs over its ten-year lifetime.
NAMA can petition the courts to overturn any assets transfers that ultimately disadvantaged the toxic loans agency by making it harder for NAMA to recoup monies owed. There is no onus to prove the transfers were fraudulent.
The majority of the €160m of reversals involves transfers of assets from NAMA's biggest borrowers to their wives, it is understood, while some transfers to children may also feature.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan recently told the Dail that "most" developers questioned by NAMA had voluntarily reversed the transfers on request from the agency, though legal remedies were being considered in some cases.
The minister stressed that NAMA had already indicated there wasn't going to be a "huge pot of gold" arising out of transfer reversals, despite reports that most of the agency's 30 biggest borrowers had transferred some assets to their family members.
The €221m worth of additional security got by NAMA was largely achieved from the agency's biggest clients, and involved cases where borrowers were compelled to grant NAMA charges over unencumbered assets in exchange for the agency's support.
The €221m value is based on the current market values of the assets involved.
The extra security becomes meaningful if the borrower defaults on their debts and NAMA seizes their assets, since NAMA can now seize assets worth €221m more than the assets initially attached to the debts.
The asset transfer and security activity rounds off a hectic year for NAMA, which recently announced the allocation of 2,000 properties to social housing and added anther 36 properties to its 'enforcement list' bringing the tally of properties seized by NAMA to more than 1,000.
The agency is headed for an equally eventful 2012, as former HSBC chief Michael Geoghegan leads a new group that will advise the finance minister on NAMA's future.
Mr Geoghegan had already authored a significant review of NAMA's progress, which recommended that another 200 staff be recruited at a cost of €25m.
The banker also cautioned against selling off NAMA's assets too quickly, pointing out that NAMA has the potential to add value to assets and sell them at a higher price in the future.