Friday 18 January 2019

Nama apologises to O'Flynn in confidential data leak case

Persistent: Developer Michael O’Flynn has pursued his case against Nama since the summer of 2016
Persistent: Developer Michael O’Flynn has pursued his case against Nama since the summer of 2016

Ronald Quinlan and Tim Healy

Developer Michael O'Flynn, his brother John, and the O'Flynn Group, have received an apology in the High Court from Nama over the unlawful dissemination of their personal and business information. The O'Flynns are also to receive a substantial contribution for the costs of having had to bring a case against Nama over the matter.

The O'Flynns and their firm sued over the leaking of the information by former Nama official Enda Farrell. Mr Farrell was given a two-year suspended jail sentence in May 2016 for unlawfully disseminating confidential Nama information. Mr Farrell has also apologised to the O'Flynns.

While Nama confirmed to the O'Flynns in July 2016 that their information been leaked by Mr Farrell, the agency refused to provide documentation to them after, saying it [Nama] was seeking guidance from gardai.

The O'Flynns sued claiming the leaks had a material impact on the prices achieved by both them and Nama in the disposal of the assets from 2010 and 2013 and on a significant loan sale in 2014. The case was against Nama, its company, National Asset Loan Management, and Mr Farrell.

The case came before Mr Justice Robert Haughton yesterday when Michael Cush SC, for the O'Flynn side, said he was pleased to say it had been resolved on confidential terms and statements would be read to the court on behalf of the defendants.

In the statement read by Paul Coughlan SC, for the Nama defendants, it said they wanted to "unreservedly apologise to the O'Flynns that they were compelled to take these High Court proceedings before the information requested was provided to them. In recognition of the foregoing, Nama has agreed to pay a substantial contribution towards the legal costs incurred by the O'Flynns related to these proceedings".

The statement added that "it is Nama's position that Mr Farrell had acted on his own, unlawfully and without authorisation and Nama does not bear any legal liability for the said dissemination. Notwithstanding this, Nama wishes to express its sincere regret to the O'Flynns that this should have happened".

The statement also said when it became aware of the dissemination of the information, it investigated immediately and reported it to gardai.

Nama acknowledged the O'Flynns made "repeated requests" for the information but the agency did not provide it until they took High Court proceedings and Nama "deeply regrets" and apologises for that, it said.

Nama acquired the O'Flynn loans from February 2010 onwards and acknowledged the "full co-operation of the O'Flynns since that time and during the major restructuring of their loans and subsequent sale to Carbon Finance Ltd in May 2014".

In an apology read by Robert Dore, solicitor for Mr Farrell, he stated that in the past he "knowingly circulated" Nama information and materials of a confidential and commercially sensitive nature in relation to the O'Flynns and their group of companies. "I accept the said dissemination was unlawful", he said. He apologised "earnestly and unreservedly" for this and "for all the consequences of my actions".

On the basis of that, Mr Justice Haughton struck out the case.

Irish Independent

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