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NAMA seeks €5.5m judgement against Tipperary businessman

NAMA is seeking judgment orders against Tipperary businessman John Fraher for more than €5.5 million.

Mr Fraher, now with an address at Gerrard’s Cross, Buckinghamshire, England, is alleged to have defaulted on various loans taken out with AIB and is seeking to be declared bankrupt in England.


Mr Justice Peter Kelly agreed yesterday to fast-track the summary judgment application by NAMA company, National Assets Loan Management Ltd (NALM) to the Commercial Court. 


The matter was urgent on grounds including Mr Fraher's bankruptcy application will be heard in England on May 17 next and NAMA wants to secure judgment over his unencumbered assets, its counsel said.


Gavin Simons, solicitor for Mr Fraher, opposed fast-tracking on grounds of alleged delay by NAMA in bringing the case. None of Mr Fraher's personal borrowings are in default and it was his co-borrowers, not he, who had sought the support of NAMA, Mr Simons said.


NAMA had "stood still" for the benefit of the co-borrowers and was now trying to "steal a march" on Mr Fraher's other creditors, Mr Simons said. The €5.5m was not a proven debt and Mr Fraher has claims for mitigation, he added.


Counsel for NAMA argued there was no culpable delay and said Mr Fraher had been unco-operative with it, raised issues about how it dealt with him and refused to provide additional security required.


Mr Justice Kelly found no culpable delay by the agency disentitling it to having the case fast-tracked. It was "curious" Mr Fraher had admitted the NAMA debt in his UK bankruptcy proceedings but may be disputing it here, the judge remarked. He fixed the summary judgment application for hearing next Monday.


In court documents, NAMA claims Mr Fraher took out a €3.3 million loan in January 2007 with businessmen John F Ronan and Stephen Napier to purchase an acre of land at Ticknock, Cobh, Co Cork, and to develop retail warehousing and a garden centre there.  Some €270,000 remains outstanding, it is claimed.


In September 2010, two further loans totalling €18m were obtained by Mr Fraher, this time with Mr Ronan, Richard Pratt and Sean White to purchase and develop land at West City Retail Park in Ballincollig. Some €2.6m remains outstanding on those, it is claimed.


It is claimed another €2.1m is outstanding on two other AIB facilities provided in 2008 to Mr Fraher and Mr Ronan. Mr Fraher, it is alleged, also provided personal guarantees in 2005 and 2007 in respect of facilities to three companies: La Plage Ltd, P&S Kavanagh (Thomastown) Ltd and GBC Supermarkets Ltd. The latter two are now in receivership and the claim on foot of the guarantees is €500,000.


In January 2012, Mr Fraher wrote to the bank telling them he was now living in the UK “to earn a living” and later applied to change his centre of main interests to the UK. In July last year, he wrote to Nama portfolio manager Padraig Reidy proposing a settlement but his proposal was rejected on grounds including it only related to some of the facilities.


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