Sunday 23 November 2014

Harry Crosbie: 'NAMA is trying to bully me'

Published 04/07/2014 | 22:46

Harry Crosbie
Harry Crosbie

Businessman Harry Crosbie has accused NAMA of trying to "bully" and "bulldoze" him and will ask the courts next week to try and stop it enforcing a €77m judgment against him.

Michael McDowell SC, for Mr Crosbie, told Mr Justice David Keane yesterday he wants a stay on the judge's decision NAMA is entitled to the €77m summary judgment. 

The stay is sought pending the outcome of separate proceedings initiated by Mr Crosbie against the agency after it moved for that summary judgment.

In his proceedings, Mr Crosbie claims he has a "solemn" and enforceable agreement with NAMA, set out in am August 2012 letter from his solicitor Liam McCabe.

In consideration for Mr Crosbie giving NAMA security in various assets, Mr Crosbie claims the alleged agreement restrains certain actions by the agency, including moving against his family home, his son's home and a a business carried on by his wife. NAMA was also to try and settle Mr Crosbie's debts with KBC and ABN AMRO banks.

The fact NAMA is applying on Monday to have the hearing of Mr Crosbie's proceedings fast-tracked in the Commercial Court is another move in a "well-orchestrated campaign" by the agency to "bully" his client, Mr McDowell said.

NAMA had publicly "thrown one brickbat after another" at Mr Crosbie.

His side would consent to have Mr Crosbie's case fast-tracked but believed NAMA should have not made the fast-track application until this court decided whether a stay should be granted on enforcement and execution of the €77m judgment ruling made last week.

Fixing next Tuesday to hear the stay application, Mr Justice Keane said it seemed the isues being raised were "somewhat novel". 

Paul Sreenan SC, for NAMA, said the agency would not be taking any steps in the intervening period beyond seeking on Monday to have Mr Crosbie's case fast-tracked in the Commercial Court and seeking a date for hearing a motion by NAMA regarding that case.

NAMA moved to enforce the €77m loans after Mr Crosbie failed to disclose substantial assets to the agency when first asked to do so, Mr Justice Keane was told last May.

A letter from solicitors for NAMA said full and complete disclosure was a requirement of NAMA's January 2012 Memorandum of Understanding with Mr Crosbie.  His his "lack of candour" in dealings with NAMA was "simply not acceptable", especially when Mr Crosbie and related companies collectively owed NAMA more than €420m.

NAMA said it wanted judgment so it could secure that against assets owned by Mr Crosbie, whether here or abroad, not currently secured in favour of any other party.

NAMA believed there was equity in the Vicar Street music venue and Mr Crosbie owns valuable antiques and an interest in unencumbered properties in France. It also claimed he voluntarily transferred some €2.9m between 2008 and 2011 and NAMA would be better placed to investigate those transactions if it got judgment.

NAMA rejected Mr Crosbie's claims the McCabe letter amounts to a binding agreement restraining enforcement action by it. In his ruling last week, Mr Justice Keane said there were no words in the McCabe letter to the effect NAMA would refrain from seeking a money judgment against Mr Crosbie or taking enforcement action against his assets generally.

Mr Crosbie wants a stay on enforcement of the €77m judgment pending determination of issues referred to in the judge's ruling.

These include whether NAMA is restrained by an agreement in the McCabe letter, for as long as that agreement lasted, from taking enforcement action against Mr Crosbie and his son regarding their homes, an interest of Mr Crosbie in a French property and certain businesses of Mr Crosbie's son and wife.

Mr Crosbie previously argued NAMA was effectively trying to bankrupt him and was bound by the agreement in the McCabe letter.

NAMA obtained some €35m from sale of assets under that agreement but was seeking to resile from aspects of that agreement, he said. He also rejected claims by NAMA he misled it as to whether he had unencumbered assets.

NAMA's €77m judgment claim arose from personal debts of Mr Crosbie and his guarantees of the liabilities of Shoal Trading Ltd and Ossory Park Management Ltd (OPML).

The agency is not seeking judgment concerning other sums due under a separate €353m facility for development of the Point Village. Recourse for the €353m is limited to assets provided as security, plus an additional personal recourse amount.

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