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Friday 19 September 2014

Harry Crosbie resists NAMA's bid for €77m judgment

Tim Healy

Published 01/04/2014 | 02:30

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Harry Crosbie
Businessman Harry Crosbie
Businessman Harry Crosbie

BUSINESSMAN Harry Crosbie is resisting a bid by NAMA to get a €77m judgment against him arising from personal loans and guarantees on the liabilities of two companies.

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NAMA, which in 2010 took over AIB loans of Mr Crosbie and his companies, is not seeking judgment against Mr Crosbie concerning other loans due under a separate €353m facility for development of the Point Village, according to papers put before the Commercial Court.

Liability for the €353m was limited to assets provided as security, plus an additional personal liability amount, NAMA said.

"Significant" sums realised from security granted by Mr Crosbie had been applied to reduce his debts under the Point Village loans, including €27m from sale of his shareholding in Amphitheatre Ireland Ltd, NAMA said.

Mr Crosbie's barrister Michael McDowell told Judge Peter Kelly yesterday he would be opposing the application for the €77m summary judgment orders. Despite having "pocketed" €35m following an agreement concerning sale of assets, NAMA was now seeking to withdraw from aspects of that agreement, Mr McDowell argued.

NAMA alleges it initially refrained from enforcement action over the debts of Mr Crosbie and connected companies – referred to as the Connection – and had in good faith worked with the Connection in its efforts to complete the Point Village and deal with the debts.

However, it alleged, there was a failure by Mr Crosbie to make full and frank disclosure concerning his assets and liabilities before the sides had entered into a "memorandum of understanding (MOU)" in early 2012 setting out the commercial terms for co-operation.

Because of the deficit between the debt and the value of the secured assets, any consensual strategy had to be based on Mr Crosbie granting additional security over his unencumbered assets, the agency said.

Due to the alleged failure to make full disclosure related to those assets, NAMA said it was obliged to terminate the MOU in August 2012.

SECURED

NAMA said it gave the Connection another opportunity after that date to reduce its debts through agreements for disposal of secured assets but became increasingly concerned during 2012 and 2013 about the effectiveness of Mr Crosbie's day-to-day management of the assets. It later decided the assets would be better managed by receivers and appointed receivers in April 2013.

Mr Justice Kelly granted the application from NAMA to transfer the proceedings to the Commercial Court list. He fixed the summary judgment application for hearing on May 14.

In its judgment application, NAMA claims some €77m was due on February 16 last under personal loan facilities granted to Mr Crosbie in May 2011 by AIB and under his personal guarantees concerning some of the liabilities of Shoal Trading Ltd and Ossory Park Management Ltd.

NAMA appointed receivers in April 2013 on foot of an unmet demand for repayment under the loans and guarantees.

Last month, NAMA served a further demand on Mr Crosbie seeking payment by March 17 of the total sum of €77,095,090 owed by him. When payment was not made, the legal proceedings were initiated.

In correspondence with NAMA, solicitors for Mr Crosbie said he had concluded a "solemn" agreement with NAMA in August 2012 but, since then, "for reasons known only to you", NAMA repeatedly denied any such agreement.

In light of that alleged agreement, the solicitors said they could not see how NAMA could issue its latest demand, which would be "vigorously defended to the fullest extent".

In reply, NAMA's lawyers said its position on the "purported agreement" had been fully set out and it was fully entitled to demand repayment and to proceed to seek judgment.

Irish Independent

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