Business Irish

Saturday 7 December 2019

Developers now seek unheard trial evidence in Nama leak fear

A number of developers fear that sensitive information has been unlawfully disclosed

Fianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry Photo: Tom Burke
Fianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry Photo: Tom Burke
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Developers whose loans were transferred to Nama will seek the book of evidence used in the criminal prosecution of former Nama official Enda Farrell amid concerns that the agency's entire portfolio, containing sensitive details about all its debtors, was leaked.

The Sunday Independent has learned that a number of borrowers will seek disclosure of the book of evidence and any reports into data breaches at the toxic loans agency in a bid to ascertain whether details of their loans were leaked.

Last month Farrell was given a two-year suspended prison sentence for disclosing confidential information.

His early indication of a guilty plea meant a lengthy, costly and technical trial was avoided. However, it also meant that details of the investigation and any reports were not fully aired in court.

Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court heard that Farrell, who pleaded guilty to eight charges, had access to large amounts of confidential information with potential commercial value.

Now some developers contemplating legal action against Nama want to see the book of evidence in Farrell's trial to ascertain if their loans were affected.

The information included lists of properties that had been taken into Nama and valuations placed on them in November 2009.

The properties included those linked to developer Paddy McKillen, the O'Flynn Group's Tiger Developments, Harcourt Doherty Group, and the Cosgrave Development Group.

Fianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry has said he fears that the entire Nama portfolio was leaked after discussions with a confidential source who is not a Nama client.

MacSharry said answers to parliamentary questions in the Dail by Finance Minister Michael Noonan do not alleviate his fear that the portfolio was leaked. "My primary concern is that there was information available to the market which undermined the State and ultimately the taxpayers' potential to maximise the return after eight years of painful sacrifice," he said.

Noonan told the Dail that "information on the number of debtors potentially affected by the unauthorised disclosures is held by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation".

"I am advised that the information collated during that investigation and the results of the searches are solely within the remit of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and Nama is not privy to the information," he added.

Nama said it would not add to the minister's responses.

At Farrell's sentence hearing, the Circuit Criminal court heard it was not part of the prosecution case that Farrell had benefited financially from what he had done.

Although the information was potentially commercially sensitive, the court heard it was not part of the case that any transaction was compromised by the disclosures.

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