Wednesday 16 October 2019

Developer Kelleher loses High Court bid for NALM documents

High stakes: Garret Kelleher’s €1.5bn Chicago Spire would have been one of the world’s tallest buildings
High stakes: Garret Kelleher’s €1.5bn Chicago Spire would have been one of the world’s tallest buildings

Tim Healy

Developer Garrett Kelleher is not entitled to certain categories of documents for his action against a Nama company over the alleged leaking of his and his businesses' confidential financial information to third parties, the High Court has ruled.

The application was made as part of Mr Kelleher's damages action against National Asset Loan Management Ltd (NALM) for an alleged breach of confidence and the allegedly deliberate, malicious disclosure of confidential information concerning himself and his companies in the Shelbourne Group.

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The claims are denied.

NALM, in its defence, accepts there was an unlawful disclosure of information by former Nama employee Enda Farrell but it says it is not liable for his actions.

In order to advance his claim Mr Kelleher, sought discovery of a number of categories of documents from NALM, which it refused to furnish.

The categories included documents concerning the disseminating of information about Mr Kelleher by Enda Farrell and information sent to third parties about Mr Kelleher's banking and business affairs.

In 2016, Mr Farrell received a two-year suspended prison sentence for leaking sensitive data to two investment companies.

Farrell, of La Reine, Avenue Louise Brussels, Belgium and formerly of Dunboyne, Co Meath, pleaded guilty to eight counts of unlawfully disclosing information, in breach of the 2009 Nama Act, between May and July 2012. None of the charges against Farrell related to Mr Kelleher's affairs.

Ruling on Mr Kelleher's discovery application, Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington declined to make orders compelling NALM to provide Mr Kelleher with the material sought.

Some of the categories of the material sought lacked specificity while others were too broad, she said. They were described by the judge as a "fishing expedition".

She was satisfied certain categories of materials sought, including any information disseminated by Mr Farrell about the developers' banking affairs, were being provided by NALM to Mr Kelleher.

Previously the court heard that the businessman became suspicious that information he gave to NALM had appeared in national newspapers in 2011. He also became suspicious that year when businessman and now US President, Donald Trump, made a bid for a loan he acquired to build the proposed Chicago Spire, it was claimed.

The €1.5bn Spire development by Mr Kelleher's companies would have been one of the world's tallest buildings but it never proceeded.

Mr Kelleher alleges that confidential material, including a business plan for the Chicago project, was leaked by NALM to persons in the US containing a valuation in relation to a loan from Anglo Irish Bank to develop the Chicago Spire.

That loan was valued in August 2010 as being worth $19.5m.

Mr Kelleher claims his belief that confidential financial information had been "widely leaked" was heightened by the fact that, in September 2011, a bid of $20m for the Chicago Spire Project was made by the Trump Organisation.

Irish Independent

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