Monday 19 February 2018

Wheels come off McCabe wagon

Developer John McCabe was never a household name like Johnny Ronan or Sean Dunne, but yesterday's massive €100m judgment order proves he was one of the big guys.

They might not have bought up Ballsbridge but the McCabes built on a large scale in the north-Dublin commuter belt, including the Abington estate in Malahide -- a boom-era millionaires' row that was once home to pop star Ronan Keating and banker David Drumm (former home pictured).

Inevitably, big developments meant debts when the music stopped. McCabe Builders was banked by Anglo Irish bank, so the loans eventually found their way into NAMA.

Unlike many of their peers, the McCabe family seemed to adapt quickly to the post-boom reality, working alongside NAMA until summer 2012, when the wheels came off the relationship in spectacular fashion.

Since September the McCabes' main businesses have gone into receivership, personal assets have been frozen and now the businessman has been ordered to personally honour €100m of unpaid debt.

It's a spectacular turnaround, apparently all linked back to one fateful deal.

In July 2011 McCabe Builders agreed what appeared to be the ideal arrangement to spring free of NAMA by partnering up with little-known Bahrain-based Western Gulf Advisory (WGA).

WGA would buy McCabe's debts from NAMA, and pump millions into the business to complete stalled projects.

All the McCabes had to do was pay over fees for the loans.

Nama reckons €4.85m was paid over. The investment never materialised and NAMA took fright at what it saw as cash leaking abroad. Instead of springing free of NAMA, it was the agency that sprang into action.

Irish Independent

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