PROPERTY developers Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett are in line to get almost €5m each in cash under a complex deal with the tax payer-owend National Asset Management Agency and liquidators. The deal will also see the two men paying money to the official liquidators of Treasury Holdings and NAMA.
The payments could result from a complex deal presented to the HIgh Court yesterday by lawyers acting for the duo, NAMA and the official liquidators.
The suggestion of a €5m payment with “no strings attached” for Mr Barrett raised questions in the eyes of straight-talking judge Peter Kelly. That’s “a lot of money for someone against whom there is an allegation of fraud”, Judge Kelly remarked when the proposed settlement came before his court yesterday.
Earlier in the week, NAMA reached a settlement with the developers in a move that may see the bad bank gain up to €100m. The agreement must still be approved by Judge Kelly in a hearing due to he heard next Wednesday.
The two men were among the most conspicuous Irish developers, buying trophy buildings such as London’s Battersea power station. Mr swashbuckling Mr Ronan also hit the headlines for life outside property although he toned things down after a trip to Morocco with model Rosanna Davison in 2010.
Judge Kelly was told that the €5m for Mr Barrett included a €4.8m “success fee” for related to agreements on disposal of various shareholdings held by the Shanghai-based developer.
Mr Ronan is expected to get a similar sum under the complex settlement which was put before the court for approval yesterday by the of the company and NAMA, Treasury's largest creditor.
Yesterday’s settlement follows a bitter dispute between NAMA and the two developers about their Chinese operation. Despite this dispute, which saw NAMA accusing them of transferring €20m shares out of a property group to the benefit of Mr Barrett and Mr Ronan for €100,000 and unsecured loan notes.
NAMA and the liquidators claim there was no commercially valid reason for the transaction made when Treasury was either insolvent or in very difficult financial circumstances. The claims are denied and the case was listed for hearing in October.
Judge Kelly said yesterday he was “not a rubber stamp” and wanted to think about the matter before deciding whether or not to sanction the proposed settlement.