Sunday 25 February 2018

Developers' transfers to relatives face NAMA probe

NAMA chief Brendan McDonagh
NAMA chief Brendan McDonagh

Emmet Oliver and Maeve Dineen

Toxic loans agency NAMA has written to Ireland's largest developers and building firms asking them whether they have transferred any property to friends or relatives over recent years. The agency is seeking precise details of each developer's debts and assets.

The agency has also asked about what kind of tax relief developers and their relatives have claimed on their property projects. NAMA is anxious to ascertain whether developers have passed on any of their properties to their relatives and friends.

Three months ago the loans agency sent a detailed request to the developers, via the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), asking them to submit detailed business plans, including information on future cashflows and debt levels.

But now the agency, under chief executive Brendan McDonagh, has asked for additional information in a new circular sent to the CIF in the last fortnight. The new request is described as highly comprehensive and asks developers to spell out who the leading managers are in their companies.

The legal structure of their companies must also be disclosed, including any companies set up in offshore locations such as the Isle of Man.

NAMA is also seeking additional information from developers that own hotels outright or have investments in them. It is now seeking information on the commercial potential, if any, of these hotels. It is estimated that the Irish banks own 100 hotels following a litany of liquidations and foreclosures.

The developers are also asked to provide an analysis of their main investments and the agency is seeking to find out if half-completed projects are facing competing developments in the same area. There were reports last night that NAMA was not only seeking information on the managements at each development company, but also what they are paid, but this could not be confirmed.

The CIF, a lobby group for the building industry, has been running seminars for its members on NAMA for several months. The organisation represents the main developers, but also the large sub-contracting companies that are hired to build major developments.

NAMA is expected to send notifications on the first tranche of NAMA loans to the banks later this week. Officials at NAMA were working last night on the final details. An official figure for loan discounts will be available later this month.

Irish Independent

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