| 6.1°C Dublin

Agency sets an example in doggedly pursuing Grehan

Close

Ray Grehan

Ray Grehan

Ray Grehan

THE British famously shot the battle-losing John Byng because "it is good to kill, from time to time, an admiral to encourage the others".

It's a sentiment NAMA seems to have taken to heart, at least when it comes to bankrupt developer Ray Grehan. Ray Grehan is NAMA's one-that-got-away.

NAMA secured its biggest ever summary judgement against Mr Grehan back in November, only to see him successfully apply for bankruptcy in the UK a month later.

The move was seen as a blow to NAMA's effectiveness. But the threat is potentially to the entire NAMA model. Having such a high-profile debtor shrug off the NAMA yoke, and with such apparent ease, represents a real challenge to NAMA's way of doing business. Under the UK system, Ray Grehan could be back in business, and debt-free, early next year.

If he does it, it creates a serious temptation for even the most cooperative of NAMA debtors to similarly slip the noose. A mass exodus of developers would be a major threat to the agency.

NAMA has 200 staff managing property assets worth billions. The bulk of its work is really done either by receivers or the original developers. NAMA itself has admitted that its best hope of recovering value for taxpayers is by keeping those debtors motivated and working for the agency.

That's why it won't give up its legal action against Ray Grehan -- even if chasing a bankrupt man through the courts has all the hallmarks of a fool's errand.

It also happens to be a great way of letting the world know that it has the resources, scale and skill to mount a global, forensic asset search, and a willingness to keep the pressure on even during a bankruptcy abroad.

Irish Independent