Saturday 16 December 2017

Nama official criticised for 'misleading' evidence

Treasury Building. Photo: Tom Burke
Treasury Building. Photo: Tom Burke
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

A senior Nama official gave "positively misleading" testimony to the High Court after the agency lost a case involving developer Garrett Kelleher.

In his judgment on the case, Judge Brian Cregan said that allegations made by Nama's Peter Malbasha were "not only incorrect but positively misleading".

Nama and Mr Kelleher had gone to court to resolve a dispute regarding one of Mr Kelleher's companies - Middlebrook Limited.

Nama took control of the company and appointed a receiver over the business. However Middlebrook was struck off the company's register after it did not file accounts.

The Nama-appointed receivers - Tom O'Brien and Simon Coyle of Mazars - sought to have the company restored to the register but a dispute then arose around who should pay the fees to achieve this. Nama said Mr Kelleher and the other company directors should pick up the fee, while the directors insisted it should be Nama.

Mr Malbasha said Nama tried to appoint receivers to Middlebrook in March 2014 but could not do so as the company had been struck off.

The receivers were not appointed until after Middlebrook was restored last March.

Judge Cregan however rejected this, saying that it was "clear in any view of the matter that [Nama] appointed receivers on March 28, 2014. Judge Cregan also criticised Mazars' Tom O'Brien. He wrote that Mr O'Brien said he and Simon Coyle were only appointed as receiver this year but "extraordinarily" he did not mention he had been appointed as receiver to Middlebrook in March 2014. Judge Cregan called this a "troubling omission".

A spokesman for Mr Kelleher declined to comment. Mr O'Brien could not be reached. Nama said it was "consulting our legal advisers".

Irish Independent

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