Sunday 18 February 2018

Noonan 'afraid to take on Nama untouchables,' says McKillen

Investor says Nama leadership should be removed now, write Dearbhail McDonald and Gavin McLoughlin

Paddy McKillen says Michael Noonan must act Picture: PA
Paddy McKillen says Michael Noonan must act Picture: PA

Dearbhail McDonald and Gavin McLoughlin

Property investor Paddy McKillen has heaped pressure on Michael Noonan, claiming the Finance Minister is "too afraid" to take on Nama following a series of controversies that have engulfed the toxic-loans agency.

McKillen, who won a Supreme Court battle to prevent his loans being transferred to Nama, said Noonan must disband Nama or remove its entire senior leadership.

McKillen said the conviction of former Nama official Enda Farrell for leaking confidential information about his and other borrowers' loans, combined with the airing of a secret recording of former Nama advisor Frank Cushnahan accepting a €50,000 payment from a developer in Northern Ireland, was enough to justify the closure of the agency.

"I think it's bizarre that Noonan hasn't dealt with Nama," the normally reclusive investor told the Sunday Independent. "It seems he is either afraid or he believes they are untouchables," said McKillen who, in contrast, added that he felt "treated like a criminal" by the agency.

"I feel very sad for Ireland that Nama hasn't been tackled. Noonan should disband it or remove the top layer of management because they've obviously failed in what they set out to do. Disband it, because it's an absolute disaster".

Nama is reeling from fresh revelations about the activities of Cushnahan, a former member of its Northern Ireland Advisory Committee (Niac) as well as the publication last week of a damning report into the sale of its Northern loan book by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

McKillen said he has "more than enough confirmation evidence" that confidential details of his loans were given to his rivals - billionaire twins Frederick and David Barclay.

Farrell, who received a two-year suspended sentence for disclosing confidential information relating to the agency, told gardai that he learned - while in Nama - of an email sent by a senior colleague to a representative of the Barclay brothers regarding the sale of the Coroin loan.

Coroin was the holding company for the Maybourne Hotel Group which owns the luxury Claridge's, Berkeley and Connaught hotels in London.

"Prefer if all is kept below the radar until we have completed our business together," former senior Nama executive John Mulcahy wrote in the email which emerged in High Court proceedings in London in 2012.

Nama has denied the agency was involved in the unauthorised disclosure of McKillen's information.

Sunday Indo Business

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