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Developer's wife who owes €20m 'refuses to hand over diamond ring worth €150,000'

A DEVELOPER'S wife who owes NAMA more than €20m is refusing to hand over an 8.38 carat diamond ring, necklace and bracelet to the agency, it has been claimed.

NAMA wants the jewellery from Mary McCabe, wife of developer John McCabe, to help meet €20m in judgments against her.

NAMA believes the ring alone is worth more than €150,000, based on the opinion of a jewellery valuer, while Mrs McCabe had valued it, the bracelet and necklace collectively at some €140,000, Rossa Fanning BL, for NAMA, told the High Court.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday agreed to grant orders to NAMA appointing a receiver over the three items of jewellery of Mrs McCabe, of Rath Stud, Ashbourne, Co Meath.

When the judge asked barrister Alison Keirse, who was in court on another matter, how big was a 8.38 carat ring, Ms Keirse said she didn't know, she had never owned a ring that size.

Making the application, Mr Fanning said Mrs McCabe had refused to hand over the jewellery by January 18 last as sought by his client. NAMA was concerned, if it did not secure the orders sought, the jewellery may not remain in her possession.

A letter written to NAMA by a son of Mrs McCabe had alleged the agency was behaving unfairly in bringing court proceedings, counsel said.

However, he said, the position of NAMA and the taxpayer could be prejudiced if this jewellery was sold.

NAMA contended it was entitled to the jewellery to go towards discharging the substantial liabilities of Mrs McCabe, he added.

Mr Justice Kelly said it was an unusual application but he was satisfied to make the orders sought.

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He noted two judgments for sums totalling more than €20m had been entered against Mrs McCabe last year and she had failed to disclose the jewellery in her first statement of affairs but did so in her second.

He also noted NAMA contended the jewellery was worth substantially more than the €140,000 value ascribed by Mrs McCabe.

He was satisfied it was reasonable to infer, unless the court interfered, the property may not be available to NAMA as it should be and, in those circumstances, he appointed Jim Hamilton of BDO as receiver.

He granted various powers to Mr Hamilton, including to take possession of the jewellery and to retain a valuer to value it.

Last October, John McCabe was ordered to repay amounts totalling more than €100m to NAMA arising mainly from loans to companies in his building group and his personal guarantees of loans.

The agency also secured summary judgment orders in various sums against Mrs Ms Cabe and the couple's children related to various loans and guarantees.

The McCabes group of companies owe NAMA more than €235m arising from a series of loans and guarantees, most of which were advanced by the former Anglo Irish Bank (now Irish Bank Resolution Corporation) with others advanced by Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks.

NAMA says only a sum of €347,340 has been paid towards discharging the judgments obtained against Mrs McCabe. That came from the proceeds of sale of a property at Park Lane, London.

Accountant Kieran Wallace of KPMG was previously appointed liquidator of McCabe Builders (Dublin), after recruitment firm MCR Personnel applied to have the company wound up over an alleged unpaid debt.

McCabe's was behind the so-called 'millionaires' row' development at Abington in Malahide, Co Dublin.

John McCabe Snr was also one of 10 customers of Anglo who each bought a 10pc stake in the bank in the so-called 'Maple 10' deal of 2008.

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