Sunday 26 March 2017

Gannon's wife faces forced move of property to NAMA

Siobhan Creaton and Laura Noonan

PROPERTY developer Gerry Gannon's wife Margaret faces the prospect of being forced to hand over millions of euro worth of properties transferred into her name by her husband.

This is because Mrs Gannon gave personal guarantees to the banks over loans taken out in her name, the Irish Independent has learnt.

Mrs Gannon's personal guarantees, which were pledged as security for money she borrowed, have been acquired by NAMA and it can use them to go after these properties to recover monies she owes.

Mr Gannon had transferred a wide portfolio of assets into his wife's name, which include 74 hectares in Loughglynn, Co Roscommon; a house on St Fintan's Road in Howth; 52 acres of land on Carrickbrack Road in Howth; apartments in Portmarnock and Malahide; a Victorian house in Dublin 4; and houses in Cabinteely, Templeogue, Artane and Clontarf.

A source familiar with the Gannons' financial position told the Irish Independent that the extent of Mrs Gannon's personal guarantees is such that all of the assets transferred into her name can be reversed.

"NAMA will be seeking to enforce them," he said.

Separately speaking to the Irish Independent last night, the usually reclusive Mr Gannon confirmed he had sold off his jet and helicopter "over the last year".

Asked if they were sold before or after his loans were transferred to NAMA, he replied: "I don't honestly know."

Mr Gannon said he had "no comment to make" on any of the 'Prime Time' revelations, which detailed the transfer of 22 properties to his wife and also showed him loading Brown Thomas bags into his jeep.

Meanwhile, NAMA yesterday staunchly defended its record on pursuing developers' assets, insisting that "many" of the top 30 borrowers had agreed to reverse recent transfers of assets to their family members.

Assets

Most of NAMA's biggest 30 borrowers are believed to have transferred assets to their family members in the run-up to the establishment of the toxic loans agency. A "number" of other developers in the top 30 group have also "agreed in principle" to reverse transfers of assets to their family members, NAMA said in a statement.

"Agreements are at different stages because the business plans developers have submitted are at different stages," a NAMA spokesman said.

NAMA also insisted it would take legal action against developers who refused to reverse the transfers in a "consensual" way. Developers would be given a "specified period", "usually about eight weeks" to reverse the transfers before NAMA takes legal action.

While NAMA can vigorously pursue assets that developers may be seeking to protect, it is powerless to apply this legislation to asset transfers prior to it coming into law.

Ireland's bad bank is reliant on using other legislation, including that which covers fraud, bankruptcy or reckless trading, to recover the assets transferred to wives and others.

"NAMA is acutely sensitive to the risk that developers have tried -- or will try -- to transfer assets from their own names to spouses or other family members in order to remove them from the scope of NAMA," the loans agency said. "The agency is pursuing developers to bring such assets back."

The agency also has no powers to go after assets transferred before the legislation to places like the Channel Islands or other offshore havens like the Cayman Islands before December 2009.

But NAMA can also bring huge pressure to bear on developers as part of the negotiations on the agreement of their business plans as each developer is asked to give the bad bank a sworn statement of means of the assets they hold, and have previously held.

Irish Independent

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