Friday 28 October 2016

Revealed: Nama man's unheard claims

Enda Farrell pleaded guilty to leaking Nama's commercial secrets - but was he the only one to have 'gone rogue'?

Published 11/09/2016 | 02:30

Enda Farrell was given a suspended sentence and walked free from court Picture: Courtpix
Enda Farrell was given a suspended sentence and walked free from court Picture: Courtpix

When former Nama official Enda Farrell pleaded guilty before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last May to eight counts of unlawfully disclosing information in breach of the 2009 Nama Act, it provided for a neat conclusion to the oft-repeated story of a 'lone wolf', who, left unchecked, had gone rogue and betrayed the trust of his masters.

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In putting up his hands and throwing himself upon the mercy of the courts, however, Farrell received a suspended sentence and walked free, taking the potentially explosive allegations he had made to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation with him.

The former Nama man could be forgiven for wanting to get his life back after three years of living in limbo - but there can be little doubt that he and those closest to him feel that he was, and continues to be, singled out as the proverbial 'bad apple' in the Nama barrel.

But if the statements made by Enda Farrell to detectives who investigated him for his leaking in 2012 of confidential information relating to the financial affairs of numerous of Nama's biggest borrowers are to be believed, the media's shorthand description of Nama as a 'toxic' loan agency takes on an altogether different meaning.

While Farrell's guilty plea prevented the allegations he made to gardai from being ventilated and interrogated in open court, the Sunday Independent understands that they include numerous claims, which if true, suggest that the leaking of confidential information from the agency was far more widespread than Nama chiefs would wish to countenance, let alone concede.

Claim 1

Among the claims made by Farrell to gardai in the course of being interviewed were that in July 2012, a full two months after he had left his job at Nama, another Nama employee delivered confidential information relating to a Nama borrower's business plan to him outside the agency's Treasury Building headquarters. This meeting, Farrell told gardai, was witnessed by another Nama employee.

Asked about this claim and whether or not the first individual identified by Farrell had been subjected to any form of investigation, a spokesman for Nama declined to comment.

Claim 2

The Sunday Independent also understands that Farrell provided detectives with the name of a second Nama employee, who he says approached him while he was still working at the agency to ask him if he had taken any information from Nama.

Having confirmed to his then colleague that he had sent documents to his wife, Farrell claims the Nama official in question told him he had sent out a spreadsheet containing confidential financial information relating to borrowers' loans.

Claim 3

Farrell is understood to have informed gardai of a separate instance where a third named Nama employee provided him with confidential information relating to the financial affairs of a major Nama borrower.

Claim 4

He is also said to have provided gardai with the detail of an episode in which a fourth Nama employee sent him an email containing confidential information to his email address at Forum, the company where he was employed briefly following his departure from the State agency.

Asked by gardai how that email could have bypassed Nama's firewall, Farrell is understood to have responded that the firewall was, at that time, only equipped to stop emails being sent from private email accounts, such as Gmail, as opposed to those sent from official Nama addresses.

Claim 5

Elsewhere in the course of being interviewed by gardai, it is believed Farrell alleged that he had told lawyers from a prominent law firm engaged by Nama to conduct an internal investigation into his misconduct that he had shared confidential information relating to Nama's entire US portfolio with a senior executive employed by a US investment firm. A spokesman for Nama declined to comment on this claim and would not say if the agency would provide the findings of the internal investigation conducted by the prominent law firm on its behalf into Enda Farrell's misconduct to the members of the Dail's Public Accounts Committee or Finance Committee.

Claim 6

It is also believed Farrell told gardai that he provided a major US property fund with a confidential valuation report on a significant US asset, which was then under Nama's control.

Asked if the developer or entity behind the property had been notified of this unlawful disclosure of that valuation report, a spokesman for Nama declined to comment.

What Nama said

In a general response to the issues raised in this article, a spokesman for Nama said: "Any statements made by Mr Farrell to the gardai have been, or are, subject to garda investigation and it would be inappropriate for Nama to comment on any past or current garda investigation."

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