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Grehans get one day to pay €660m

DEVELOPERS Ray and Danny Grehan have one day to come up with €660m or Nama will put them back into receivership, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Last night, a spokesman for the State agency confirmed that a demand for immediate repayment of the Kildare-based brothers' development loans will be made upon the conclusion of talks on Tuesday evening. Given that tomorrow is a bank holiday, the incredible ultimatum leaves the Glenkerrin Group chiefs with just eight working hours to raise the eye-watering sum.

For a brief period yesterday, it had appeared that Nama had given the Grehans something of a reprieve when it emerged that it had 'stood down' receivers Grant Thornton, which it had appointed to Irish properties owned by them only last Wednesday.

Among the properties taken over, albeit temporarily, by the receivers on foot of that decision were the former UCD veterinary college site in Ballsbridge, Dublin, which Glenkerrin had purchased for €171.5m at the height of the boom in 2005, apartments and offices at the Grange in Stillorgan, and the Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Solicitors for the Grehans' Glenkerrin Group were informed of Nama's extraordinary U-turn in an email sent from the agency at midnight last Friday, according to informed sources. That email was followed up yesterday morning with a short phone call to the Grehans from receivers Grant Thornton, to tell them that they had now been stood down by Nama.

A spokesman for Nama told the Sunday Independent that the decision to withdraw the receiver was based on legal advice and made in response to a request from the Grehan brothers for additional time to negotiate the repayment of their loans. He insisted that demand letters for the immediate repayment of the Grehans' entire €660m debt would be re-issued on Tuesday evening, and said the receiver would be reinstated if the monies were not forthcoming. Nama's decision to demand the immediate repayment of the debt has come as a major shock to the Grehan brothers, and indeed to other developers on books of the so-called 'bad bank'.

Indeed, speaking to the Sunday Independent last Thursday in the immediate aftermath of Nama's original appointment of a receiver, Ray Grehan explained how the Glenkerrin Group had only signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State agency last December, and had been working closely with Nama since then.

Such was the level of co-operation between the parties during that time, Nama issued funds to the Glenkerrin Group to finish an extension to the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Shoreditch High Street in London. The drawdown of funding in recent weeks, however, was delayed pending the agreement of the Glenkerrin Group to increased security on its borrowings and the renewal of personal guarantees by Ray Grehan on personal assets, including his home.

Sunday Independent