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Monday 20 November 2017

Businessman fails in court appeal against NAMA sale

A BUSINESSMAN has failed in a bid to appeal the rejection of his challenge to the sale of an iconic London building by NAMA.

NAMA should not have allowed the sale of the valuable former Gillette shaving blades production factory for almost Stg£2m less than a UK-based partnership had offered, it had been claimed in the High Court.

Bruce Rippon,  CEO and a partner in Smart Design and Build (SDB) International of Narborough Street, London, claimed NAMA permitted the sale of the property located at Great West Road, Isleworth, at st£2m less than SDB had offered.   Planning permission has been obtained for a major commercial re-development of the 10.25 acre site.

NAMA's involvment arises out of it taking over a loan from AIB in 2009 giving it security over the site which was owned by Bonnington Investments and  Developments Ltd, Grand Parade Eastbourne, East Sussex, England.

SDB claimed an offer of Stg£23.1m from a rival bidder, Precinct Properties Ltd of Clapton Common, London, was accepted with NAMA approval.

This was less than a number of offers SDB made, including one of St£23.2 and another of st£25m, it was claimed.

SDB claimed Bonnington offered the property for sale as an agent and under the direction of NAMA.

It was claimed the Irish taxpayer was at a loss as a result.

Mr Rippon's challenge to the sale was rejected last August by the High Court.

He then asked High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns for leave to appeal the matter to the Supreme Court on a point of law of exceptional public importance and because it is desirable in the public interest.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Kearns found there was no statutory function being exercised by NAMA in this matter but a private law function.

The mere fact that NAMA is a creature of statute did not mean a private contractual agreement must necessarily be subject to judicial review, he said.

It was difficult to see how Mr Rippon, whom it had already been determined had no standing to challenge the sale decision, could maintain an appeal to the Supreme Court on a hypothetical question as to whether NAMA is subject  to judicial review, he said.

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