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Thursday 14 December 2017

Funds try to recruit Nama builders

Giant global property funds are seeking former developers with an 'inside track' on Nama portfolios


DEVELOPERS whose assets have been seized by Nama are being headhunted by international investment funds, looking to snap up properties in Ireland and UK at knockdown prices from the State's so-called 'bad bank'.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, one major developer claimed to be in talks with four different funds who are interested in employing him, with a view to exploit his knowledge of Nama's British and Irish property portfolios.

The prospect of failed developers returning to managing assets acquired at rock-bottom prices by cash-rich international investors will raise fresh questions about how Nama operates.

Two weeks ago, Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh provoked public fury when he confirmed to the Dail's Public Accounts Committee that his agency was paying two developers €200,000 salaries.

Today's fresh revelation that other developers -- all of whom were put into receivership by Nama -- could also be in line for massive pay packets from private investors will only serve to add to the public's sense of outrage.

Nama cannot prevent a developer whose loans or assets it has taken over from working for, or acting as a consultant to, any individual or entity who acquires a property from it. According to its code of practice, Nama only prohibits the sale of a developer's assets to a prospective buyer where it has reason to believe that they are in some way linked to or acting on behalf of the developer, either as a nominee or as a trustee.

There is nothing in the code to prevent a developer advising or working for someone who wants to buy the assets they once controlled.

This latest controversy comes just five months after Taoiseach Enda Kenny expressed his concern to the the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Cork that developers could be buying back assets seized from them by Nama at heavily discounted prices.

Responding to Mr Kenny's concerns, Nama chairman Frank Daly told the same assembly that he had an "assurance" that developers were not buying back their own assets from the agency.

But Mr Daly did not rule out the possibility that it could happen, saying: "I don't think in this world anybody can guarantee 100 per cent that nothing will ever happen but I can assure everybody that there is an absolute determination in Nama that this will not happen."

Sunday Independent

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