Saturday 20 January 2018

Developer's €17m transfer to wife targeted by NAMA

David Daly and his family challenge demand to repay €457m they owe AIB

Ray Managh and Emmet Oliver

Developer David Daly transferred €17m in cash to his wife two years ago in a transaction NAMA later tried to reverse, it was disclosed yesterday in the High Court.

Mr Daly, associated with Albany Homes and Trident Home Builders, said he made the transfers on the basis of advice from his accountants and there was nothing unlawful in the transaction.

The cash transfers were part of €80m worth of assets in total transferred to Mrs Daly.

Negotiations later took place with NAMA over how much of the €17m in cash could be transferred back and made available to NAMA.

Mr Daly and his children have been granted leave by the High Court to challenge the demand by NAMA for them to repay €457m they owe AIB. But Mr Daly, his daughter Joanne, and son Paul failed in a bid to obtain injunctions restraining the activities of AIB-appointed receiver Jim Hamilton, over their Irish assets, and Nama-appointed receivers Shay Bannon and Sarah Rayment over their UK assets.

But Mr Justice Michael Peart granted them leave to proceed with their legal challenges on the family's contention that they should have been heard by NAMA prior to the agency deciding to issue letters of demand for repayment of the loans.

Property portfolio

Mr Daly, of Estuary House, New Street, Malahide, Co Dublin, had told the court he had set up Manor Park Homebuilders with Jim Flavin and Joe Moran and had run it profitably for 15 years.

He had used his share of the profits to build a property portfolio and in 1995 had been bought out and had set up Albany Homes Ltd and Trident Home Builders Ltd. He used AIB as his personal banker.

Mr Justice Peart said assets totalling €80m had been transferred by Mr Daly into his wife Mary's name, including about €17m in cash, in 2009.

It was quite clear from correspondence between Nama and Mr Daly that Nama regarded it as fundamental to any consensus on a way forward that these assets would be transferred back by Mrs Daly so they would be available to Nama.

In negotiations, Nama had agreed with Mr Daly to reduce the cash hand-back element from €17m to €10m but Mrs Daly had not been willing to transfer back all the assets Nama demanded.

Mr Daly had believed this was the main reason why Nama was unwilling to reach agreement with him, while Nama stated it was an important issue but not the only one that prevented agreement.

The Daly family claimed the decision to call in the loans and appoint receivers should be quashed on the basis that they lacked proportionality and reasonableness for failing to await the conclusion of negotiations they believed had been ongoing between Nama and Deutsche Bank about a takeover of the loans.

Mr Justice Peart said that whether or not the loans were payable on demand had been hotly disputed by the Daly family and Nama. "There is not a scintilla of evidence adduced by the plaintiffs of bad faith or improper motive on the part of Nama in the matter of calling in these loans and appointing receivers." He said the Dalys had merely asserted their view in that regard.

But he said there could be little if any doubt that the plaintiffs had at least raised a substantial issue in relation to the right to be heard.

Irish Independent

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