Wednesday 17 January 2018

NAMA tried to get Harry Crosbie to repay €77m after 'he failed to disclose assets'

Tim Healy

NAMA made moves to enforce repayment of loans of around €77m to businessman Harry Crosbie after he failed to disclose substantial assets when first asked to do so, the Commercial Court heard.

A letter sent by solicitors for NAMA in August 2012 said full and complete disclosure was a requirement of NAMA's January 2012 Memorandum of Understanding with Mr Crosbie and his "lack of candour" in dealings with NAMA was "simply not acceptable".  This was especially so when Mr Crosbie and related companies collectively owed NAMA more than €420m.


NAMA was terminating the memorandum, reserving all its rights and wanted Mr Crosbie to take various steps, including resigning directorships of companies and sell various properties, the letter said.


Michael McDowell SC, for Mr Crosbie, argued NAMA is now effectively seeking to bankrupt his client.


Counsel made the claim during an application by NAMA for summary judgment for some €77m against Mr Crosbie.


NAMA is bound by an agreement set out in a letter of August 24, 2012, relating to management and disposal of assets and liabilities of Mr Crosbie and companies connected with him, counsel said.


NAMA obtained some €35m from the sale of assets under that agreement but and was now seeking to resile from aspects of that agreement, he said.


The agreement is the basis for Mr Crosbie's defence to the summary judgment claim and he is entitled to a full hearing, counsel argued yesterday.


Mr Crosbie also rejected claims by NAMA he had misled it as to whether he had unencumbered assets, Mr McDowell said.


Under the August 24, 2012, agreement, Mr Crosbie, his wife Rita and son, Simon, resigned as directors of several companies. NAMA agreed to release charges and any claims by it concerning Mr Crosbie's home at Hanover Quay, Dublin or the home of his son Simon.


The businesses of two companies were also to be transferred to Simon Crosbie for "nominal consideration" subject to sale of sites in Dublin Port, with proceeds to be given to NAMA.  Harry Crosbie was also to sell property in Dublin Port to Dublin Port Company.


The agreement also provided, without prejudice to Rita Crosbie's claim to full ownership of a property at Eze, France, Mr Crosbie would try to sell a 50 per cent interest in that within 18 months. The agreement stated NAMA would not object to the proceeds of sale being used to discharge Mrs Crosbie's debts relating to her house in Wexford.


Mr Crosbie was to arrange for sale of three apartments in Villefranche sur Mer, France, and for his 45 per cent share of the sales proceeds to go to NAMA.


Paul Sreenan SC, for NAMA, argued that agreement does not constitute a defence to the claim for summary judgment and said NAMA had never relinquished its entitlement to call in the loans.


Having heard both sides, Mr Justice David Keane reserved his decision on the agency's application for summary judgment.


Earlier, Mr Sreenan read documents in which NAMA said it had believed Mr Crosbie had in February 2011 made full disclosure of his assets, debts, income and expenditure.


In August 2012, the agency put to him various matters not previously disclosed to it, including cash payments to various family members following takeover by NAMA of some €450m loans of companies linked to Mr Crosbie.


Of payments totalling some €1.39m to Mr Crosbie's wife, Mr Crosbie acknowledged €740,000 of that arose from misappropriation of some €1.5m dividends of a company charged in favour of NAMA.


Following acquisition of a property in Wexford in 2007, which Mr Crosbie asserted is held by his wife, Mr Crosbie spent more than €3.2m on that, NAMA alleged.


It was claimed Mr Crosbie also admitted having a 45 per cent interest in an investment property in France, details of which were not previously disclosed.  It also alleged he did not disclose significant cash gifts to and assets purchased for his children.


Accounts showed Mr Crosbie had drawn down some €7m over the years from 2008 from various companies in the connection and his statement of affairs given to NAMA did not disclose funds held on deposit in Ireland and France, it added.


NAMA appointed receivers in April 2013 on foot of an unmet demand for repayment under the loans and guarantees. Earlier this year, it served a further demand on Mr Crosbie seeking payment by March 17 last of €77m.

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