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Saturday 16 December 2017

Business as usual for Nama with €3bn sale of bank loans

Nama is housed in the Treasury Building in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Nama is housed in the Treasury Building in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Nama has shrugged off criticism from the State's most powerful spending watchdog by launching a €3bn loan sale, the Irish Independent has learned.

The State agency pulled the trigger on the massive sale yesterday, just 24 hours after the publication of a highly critical report by the Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG) into the agency's handling of the controversial Project Eagle sale of Northern Ireland loans.

Last night, a spokesman for Nama confirmed the so-called Project Gem portfolio of hundreds of property loans had been launched for sale, but had been planned for some time.

"This project has been scheduled for some time.

"We have an important job of work to do and our focus continues to be to secure the maximum return for the taxpayer," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the Government has bowed to pressure from Opposition TDs for a statutory inquiry into Project Eagle.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday accepted the demands for an independent investigation as the fall-out from the publication of the C&AG's report continued.

Government sources said there was "growing consensus" between Mr Kenny and Opposition leaders as to what approach should be taken to investigate the loan sale.

However, several major issues need to be ironed out, including what sort of individual should head up such a sensitive probe. The C&AG found the taxpayer suffered a potential loss of Stg£190m (€223.5m).

Irish Independent

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