Wednesday 17 January 2018

Property loan link for senior Nama official

Fourth figure faces potential conflict of interest

'PROCEDURES': Nama CEO Brendan McDonagh
'PROCEDURES': Nama CEO Brendan McDonagh
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

A fourth key Nama official may face a potential conflict of interest, a Sunday Independent investigation can reveal. Over the last month we have uncovered personal links between some of Nama's most senior appointments and the banking and property sectors the agency now controls.

Alison Rohan, daughter of wealthy property developer Ken Rohan, is listed as one of the backers of the €20m buyout of the Carluccio's Restaurant building on Dublin's Dawson street in 2006. The acquisition was financed with a loan from Bank of Ireland, according to documents in the registry of deeds.

Rohan joined Nama from property firm D2 Private recently, the firm controlled by David Arnold -- father of TV star Leigh Arnold -- and Deirdre Foley. The property investment and development group was one of the drivers of the Carluccio's deal.

Last month the first tranche of Bank of Ireland property loans were transferred over to Nama. The bank loan for the Carluccio's deal could also be Nama-bound when the transfers are complete.

Rohan is listed as a shareholder in the partnership that bought the restaurant building formerly owned by Graham O'Sullivan. Other investors include former AIB chairman Dermot Gleeson, who was egged by a protestor at the bank's AGM in 2009.

Disgraced Anglo Irish bank chief Sean's FitzPatrick's son Jonathan also owns a stake in the building, according to the deeds.

Rohan's exposure to a Bank of Ireland-backed property loan causes further issues for the State-owned property behemoth.

Last month the Sunday Independent revealed that Nama's new property chief John Mulcahy -- the man who decides which projects are continued and which are bulldozed -- owns €2.3m worth of shares in property firm Jones Lang LaSalle. Mulcahy had served as the chairman of the company's Irish operations. Jones Lang LaSalle won the tender to become one of Nama's five national valuers and is also one of the agency's US valuers.

We also discovered that senior Nama portfolio manager Donal Kelleher was listed as a shareholder in Savills plc, which is an advisor to Nama through its Irish office.

Last Sunday we revealed the lucrative shareholding in Bank of Ireland held by Nama main board director Michael Connolly, who holds 20,000 shares worth about €35,000.

Nama believes that it can manage any potential conflicts of interest involving its staff.

"Full declarations are made by all Nama officers and there are clear procedures in place to manage conflicts," a Nama spokesman told the Sunday Independent on Friday.

Internal Nama guidelines do not allow staff to become involved in any decisions relating to companies in which they are shareholders, or have a material financial interest.

"This is a house rule and how we manage conflicts of interest. Effectively, there would not be any inference of favouritism towards a former employer," Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh told the Oireachtas Finance Committee recently.

"We had to recruit people with experience from the market. Many people would have potential conflicts of interest and the question is how we manage them. We have an internal procedure."

Nama did not comment about whether it was advising these executives to sell these shares or financial interests.

Sunday Independent

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