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Treasury wins right to challenge NAMA move to appoint receivers


NAMA is facing another legal challenge after Treasury Holdings won permission to challenge the state-owned bad bank's appointment of receivers to properties backed by hundreds of millions of debt.

Treasury Holdings, controlled by high-profile developer Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett, owes NAMA around €2bn through Treasury and related companies, although it only paid around €900m for the loans when they were transferred across from the banks.

Yesterday state-owned NAMA appointed receivers to take control of a slew of Treasury's Irish properties after the borrower breached the conditions on loans used to finance the property deals.

The appointments could yet be overturned, however, after High Court president Nicholas Kearns gave Treasury Holdings leave to challenge the move by NAMA.

A court hearing is now scheduled for February 21 and the case is expected to take four days.

The cases relate to around €550m of the property loans held by NAMA.

Barrister Michael Cush, who represented Treasury Holdings said the case is likely to include constitutional issues.

That may well mean an effort to challenge the entire NAMA structure.

Treasury claims the appointment of receivers is unjustified and breaches its right to fair procedure. It also said the decision made no commercial sense.

Yesterday, receivers from Ernst & Young and PwC took control of properties understood to include the PwC headquarters offices in the IFSC in Dublin, the Montevetro building that is in the process of being sold to Google for €99m and the Ballymun Shopping Centre.

NAMA had made the move after a "standstill agreement", that previously blocked the lender from moving against Treasury, expired on Wednesday.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which operates the Westin Hotel in Dublin, said yesterday that it would continue to lease and manage the hotel under the Westin brand regardless of any potential change in ownership of the building.

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