Friday 15 December 2017

McKillen's details 'were leaked by Nama staff'

Second former official claims staff released confidential information

National Asset Management Agency Chariman Frank Daly and Chief Exec,Brendan McDonagh
National Asset Management Agency Chariman Frank Daly and Chief Exec,Brendan McDonagh

A SECOND former Nama official has come forward to claim that confidential information relating to the financial affairs of property tycoon Paddy McKillen was leaked by a number of individuals employed by the agency.

The Sunday Independent understands that the former official contacted Mr McKillen last week with allegations of leaking of the financial details of both the Belfast-born businessman and other property developers whose assets and loans are with Nama.

Should the account provided by this individual – whose identity is known to this newspaper – be found to have any substance, it may serve to corroborate and even add to the extraordinary claim made by former Nama portfolio manager Enda Farrell that he had personally leaked what he described as a "full file" on Mr McKillen's financial affairs while working at the agency.

Any corroboration of Mr Farrell's claims of misconduct at Nama would invariably open it up to fresh questioning in political circles.

Only last month, Nama chiefs found themselves having to defend the agency against those claims at the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Nama's chief executive Brendan McDonagh sought to dismiss Mr Farrell's allegations, suggesting that at least some of them seemed to "revolve around" his "personal grievances" or "personal views".

Chairman Frank Daly expressed his surprise that "such unquestioning credibility" had been given to "a series of allegations about Nama advanced apparently by an individual who is currently under garda investigation as a consequence of a formal complaint about him made by Nama".

But the claims now being made to Paddy McKillen by a second former Nama official in relation to the leaking of his and other developers' confidential information could force bosses at the agency to look again at Mr Farrell's claims and how much weight they attach to them.

Mr McKillen declined to go into any detail on the information given to him in recent days by the former Nama official when contacted by the Sunday Independent.

However, clearly disturbed by what he had been told, he said: "I suspect there were multiple leaks from Nama about my financial details."

A spokesman for Nama said: "Nama has no knowledge whatsoever of this. Under Section 19 of the Nama Act, anyone with information such as this is required to report it to the Gardai."

As is the case with its parent body, the NTMA, all employees assigned to Nama are subject to Section 14 of the National Treasury Management Agency Act 1990. This prohibits them from disclosing any information obtained while carrying out their duties as an employee of the NTMA.

Nama employees are also subject to a specific prohibition on the release of confidential data under sections 99 and 202 of the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 as well as the provisions of the Official Secrets Act.

Contravention of these various legislative prohibitions is a criminal offence. The prohibition on disclosing confidential information applies indefinitely and extends to former employees.

Apart from the case involving Enda Farrell, Nama referred a second of its former employees to the Gardai last February over the "possible unauthorised disclosure of a single document".

Commenting on this case at the Dail's PAC on December 20 last, Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said: "The matter was brought to Nama's attention shortly after the employee left Nama and it was immediately referred to the Gardai.

"No electronic record exists of the transmission of this document. Nama provided further information requested by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation in July of this year [2013] and we understand that the investigation is ongoing."

Mr McDonagh told the members of the PAC that there was no connection between the second case referred to the gardai and the case of Enda Farrell.


RONALD QUINLAN Special Correspondent

Irish Independent

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