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Buyer bites Quinlan signs deal to sell plush pad in Big Apple

Embattled financier Derek Quinlan is believed to have secured a buyer for his exclusive 13,000 sq ft New York townhouse in a deal thought to be worth $29.5m (€19.9m).

The palatial property -- which isn't part of a swathe of expensive homes that had a receiver appointed to them by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) earlier this month -- had been put up for sale by Mr Quinlan in April 2009, with a price tag of $37m (€27.7m at the time).

With no takers, that asking price was subsequently cut. Even as late as last month, the property was on the rental market as no buyer had emerged.

However, it's believed that contracts have now been signed between Mr Quinlan and an unidentified buyer for the home, which features five bedrooms, a gym, massage room, staff quarters, a library and two terraces.

Francis O'Shea, a broker with New York property firm Leslie J Garfield, a specialist in selling Manhattan townhouses that is handling Mr Quinlan's property at 20 East 64th Street, declined to comment yesterday when contacted by the Irish Independent.

Last month in a New York newspaper, Mr O'Shea said that Mr Quinlan had put the house back on the rental market because the owners felt "it might be in their best interest to rent the space until the market improves".

After Mr Quinlan, who now lives in Switzerland, originally acquired the property in 2005 it had been rented out for $90,000 a month.

Mr Quinlan will barely make a return on the house when the latest dollar purchase price is converted into euro, while the property is also subject to annual New York real estate taxes totalling nearly $110,000.

He bought the townhouse in October 2005 as he was trying to expand his business empire to the US and paid $26.2m (€21.7m at the time) for the property. He bought it from investment banker Roberto Guardiola and his wife Joanne, a socialite interior designer.

Property records show that Mr Quinlan financed the purchase of the townhouse with borrowings from CitiMortgage, part of Citigroup.

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That included one amount for $13.3m that, when it was inked in late 2005, attracted monthly repayments of $63,419 based on a 5.69pc interest rate.

The street was also home at one stage to convicted financial fraudster Bernie Madoff, as well as murdered designer Gianni Versace.

NAMA pounced on Mr Quinlan this month, appointing a receiver to nine properties owned by him, his wife, his daughter and his daughter's husband. They included a number of Dublin homes.

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