Saturday 18 November 2017

Crosbie denies bid to obstruct Nama probe

Businessman Harry Crosbie
Businessman Harry Crosbie

Tim Healy

BUSINESSMAN Harry Crosbie "entirely repudiates" claims by a Nama company he is obstructing its efforts to establish his assets for the purpose of recovering a €77m judgment, his lawyer has told the Commercial Court.

National Asset Loan Management Ltd (NALM) has received €31m from sales of Mr Crosbie's secured assets but estimates a likely shortfall of €43m, plus costs, after selling the remaining assets.

In court documents, it says its only recourse is to the remaining assets of Mr Crosbie, including Dublin's Vicar Street music venue, and other properties. Information from Mr Crosbie last month, not previously disclosed to NALM, showed he received €1.8m from Vicar Street between 2012-2015, it said.

Mr Crosbie had yet to clarify the nature of his interest in Vicar Street and has "failed to assist in any real way" in identifying what property or means he has to satisfy the judgment, it added. In an affidavit, Nama Asset Recovery Manager Kevin Coakley said a July 12, 2016, deadline for Mr Crosbie to provide an updated statement of affairs and undertaking not to dissipate assets was extended to facilitate the businessman's advisers.

A statement of affairs and accompanying documents provided in late July did not address all NALM's queries and it also received a "qualified" undertaking not to dissipate assets.

Some further information provided since was of concern to NAMA, Mr Coakley said. "It appears that the defendant has diverted significant income over a number of years."

That claim was disputed by solicitors for Mr Crosbie.

Kelly Smith BL, for NALM, said while there has been some engagement by Mr Crosbie, that was "not fulsome" and her side had concerns, including that Mr Crosbie had previously said he had a single source of income but now says he has a variety of income sources.

Nama was concerned it does not have a "proper picture" of his assets and liabilities.

Michael McDowell SC, for Mr Crosbie, said NALM was using a "sledgehammer" approach when Mr Crosbie and his advisers were willing to meet with NAMA and provide documents. The claims of obstruction against his client were "entirely repudiated" and, while he did not wish to use the word "bullying", the Nama approach was "excessive".

Mr Justice Brian McGovern said NALM cannot be accused of bullying when a substantial part of the debt remains outstanding. The judge said he would wish to give any debtor the opportunity to deal outside court with a creditor "as long as everyone is upfront". He adjourned an application for hearing on December 19 but told both sides meet by December 14.

Irish Independent

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