Irish News

Friday 25 July 2014

NAMA seizes €150,000 diamond ring from builder's wife

Tim Healy and Dearbhail McDonald

Published 01/02/2013|05:00

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John McCabe

A RECEIVER has been appointed over an 8.38-carat diamond ring – said to be "the size of a Brussels sprout" – as well as necklace and bracelet belonging to the wife of "millionaire's row" developer John McCabe, pictured left.

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Toxic loans agency NAMA has secured the "unusual" appointment of a receiver over three pieces of Mary McCabe's jewellery after claiming she refused to hand over the ring, necklace and bracelet to help meet €20m in judgments against her.

It previously secured temporary court orders freezing the couple's assets – all later lifted.

But NAMA has adopted a tough stance towards one of the boom's most high-profile developers. Mr McCabe's firm McCabe Builders (Dublin) was behind the so-called "millionaire's row" development at Abington in Malahide, Dublin.

He was also one of 10 customers of Anglo Irish Bank – known as the 'Maple 10' – who each bought a 10pc stake in the bank from Sean Quinn in 2008.

Sources who have seen the ring have confirmed to the Irish Independent that it is "the size of a Brussels sprout".

NAMA believes Mrs McCabe's diamond ring alone is worth more than €150,000, based on the opinion of a jewellery valuer. And fears its position – and that of the taxpayer – will be prejudiced if the jewellery is sold.

Mrs McCabe had valued the ring, bracelet and necklace collectively at some €140,000, barrister Rossa Fanning, for NAMA, told the High Court yesterday. NAMA says only a sum of €347,340 has been paid towards discharging some €20m in judgments obtained against Mrs McCabe last year.

That came from the proceeds of the sale of a property at Park Lane, London.

Last year, the High Court heard that Mr McCabe and members of his family used more than €6.2m, owed to NAMA, to pay a potential investor and cover personal loans and tax liabilities.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Peter Kelly agreed to grant orders to NAMA appointing a receiver over the three items of jewellery of Mrs McCabe, of Rath Stud, Ashbourne, Co Meath.

The judge asked barrister Alison Keirse, who was in court on another matter, how big an 8.38-carat ring was. But Ms Keirse said she didn't know, she had never owned a ring that size. Making the application, Mr Fanning said Mrs McCabe had refused to hand over the jewellery by January 18, as sought by his client.

Judge Kelly appointed Jim Hamilton of BDO as receiver and granted various powers, including to take possession of the jewellery and get it valued.

Last October, Mr McCabe was ordered to repay amounts totalling more than €100m to NAMA arising mainly from loans to companies in his building group and his personal guarantees of loans.

The agency also secured summary judgment orders in various sums, against Mrs McCabe and the couple's children.

The McCabe group of companies owe NAMA more than €235m arising from a series of loans and guarantees.

Irish Independent

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