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NAMA queries jeweller’s €7,500 commission on sale of developer’s diamond ring

NAMA has questioned whether a Dublin jeweller may retain €7,500 as his commission on the €149,000 sale of a Solitaire 8.38-carat diamond ring owned by the wife of developer John McCabe, the Commercial Court heard.


Mr Justice Peter Kelly stressed today there was no issue about the integrity of jeweller John Farrington concerning his involvement in the sale of the ring in Florida earlier this month.

However, the entirety of the €149,000 proceeds of sale must, pending further order,  be provided to a receiver appointed by NAMA over those proceeds, plus a diamond bracelet and necklace of Mary McCabe's, the judge said.

Receiver Jim Hamilton now has possession of the bracelet and necklace but the ring was sold in Florida some two weeks after the agency asked Mrs McCabe to hand it over.

Mrs McCabe is the wife of John McCabe, whose companies owe about €235m to NAMA.  Last year, the agency secured judgment orders in various sums against the couple and members of their family.

NAMA, in seeking to recover a €20m judgment against Mrs McCabe, had challenged as too low a €140,000 collective valuation placed by her on the ring, bracelet and necklace.

Today, after Mr Justice Kelly was told by John McCabe Jnr, son of Mrs McCabe, she was not contesting the receiver's appointment, the judge confirmed that appointment.

Rossa Fanning, for NAMA, said an issue had arisen in that Mr Farrington had deducted 5pc commission from the sale proceeds of the ring. Some €142,000 was transferred to an account for the receiver but commission of €7,500 had been retained.

The receiver had also stated he was advised by Mr McCabe jnr that Mr Farrington had agreed to sell the ring for no commission so it was not clear why commission had been deducted, counsel said.

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Mr Farrington was put out by the attention on his role but there was no allegation against him and no complaint about his integrity, counsel also stressed.

However, it was not open to him to choose his commission and he was obliged to give the receiver all the sale proceeds after which he could seek to vary the court order.

The receiver will be seeking details about the purchaser of the ring and intends to engage an expert to advise about disposal of the bracelet and necklace, counsel added.

Counsel for Mr Farrington said he received the funds from sale of the ring on February 14 and transferred them to the receiver the next day.

Mr Farrington claimed he was entitled to restitution but was in the court's hands as to what was to be done with the commission sum pending resolution of that matter.

Counsel added she needed to take instructions concerning what the court had been told was said by John McCabe Jnr about commission.

Mr Justice Kelly said Mr Farrington may have suffered due to being "caught in the crossfire" between NAMA and Mrs McCabe but there was no allegation of any impropriety against him.

Mr Farrington probably deducted the commission as a matter of normal trade but it would have to be decided later whether he is entitled to commission, the judge said.

He made an order directing all the sale proceeds be given to the receiver to be retained pending a decision on commission later. The matter was adjourned to the next court term.

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