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Sunday 18 February 2018

Diamond ring sought by NAMA sold at US auction for $205,000

John McCabe
John McCabe

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE 8.38-carat diamond solitaire ring belonging to the wife of developer John McCabe was sold after demands by the National Assets Management Agency for it to be handed over.

The ring was sold for $205,000 – just over €150,000 – at the Miami International Antiques show on January 29.

The ring, said to be the size of "a small Brussels sprout", was sold to a buyer at the Florida antiques fair, even though NAMA had demanded possession of the ring on January 14, threatening legal action if the item was not handed over by January 18.

All proceeds of the sale will now go to NAMA, which appointed a receiver over the ring and other items of Mrs McCabe's jewellery on January 29.

NAMA has adopted a tough stance towards Mr McCabe, one of the boom's most high-profile developers and one of the 'Maple 10' – customers of Anglo Irish Bank who each bought a stake in the bank from Sean Quinn in 2008.

The agency asked the High Court to appoint a receiver over the ring, as well as a necklace and bracelet belonging to Mary McCabe last Thursday.

NAMA secured the "unusual" appointment of a receiver over three pieces of Mrs McCabe's jewellery after claiming she refused to hand over the ring, necklace and bracelet to help meet €20m in judgments against her.

The so-called 'bad bank' had previously told the court that its position – and that of the taxpayer – would be prejudiced if the jewellery was sold. Rossa Fanning, counsel for NAMA, told High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly that his client was concerned there was a real risk the jewellery would be disposed of and that was "exactly the scheme being engaged in with no notice to NAMA".

But the McCabe family has rejected any suggestions of a "scheme" to put the jewellery beyond the reach of NAMA, which is owed some €235m by the McCabe's group of companies.

Mrs McCabe's son, John McCabe Jnr, told Judge Kelly that the family had no scheme in place to dispose of the asset.

Speaking on his mother's behalf, Mr McCabe Jnr (pictured) said that the McCabes always wanted to maximise the return for NAMA and the Irish taxpayer.

"Unfortunately the family business has gone . . . we're all out looking for work," Mr McCabe Jnr told Judge Kelly.

The ring – the sale was handled by Dublin antiques firm John Farringtons Antiques, Drury Street, Dublin – was shipped to America on January 24 and sold five days later.

Mrs McCabe, of Rath Stud, Ashbourne, Co Meath, tried to stop the sale of the ring on January 30, the court heard.

The necklace was handed over by the McCabes yesterday morning, and Farrington's will also hand over the bracelet, at present in a safe, to Jim Hamilton, the receiver.

The proceeds of the sale of the ring are being held by John Farrington who will return to Ireland on Thursday.

The Commercial Court has heard that Mrs McCabe has opted to deal directly with NAMA.

Irish Independent

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