Thursday 23 November 2017

PAC to grill key players in Nama loan controversy

Nama chairman Frank Daly
Nama chairman Frank Daly
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

THE PUBLIC Accounts Committee (PAC) will today invite to all the main players involved in the controversial sale of Nama's Northern Ireland loan book to appear.

An explosive committee hearing last week revealed how Nama learned that a former employee was due to receive a £5m fee from the sale.

An invite will now be extended to former Nama adviser Frank Cushnahan, who was in line for the massive payout from US investment firm Pimco if it bought the portfolio.

It also emerged yesterday that Mr Cushnahan was a registered shareholder in one of the property companies whose loans were sold to a separate US firm, Cerberus, for €1.5bn.

Representatives of Pimco and Cerberus will also be invited to attend a PAC hearing, as will Belfast law firm Tughans, which was involved in the successful bid.

Former Tughans managing director Ian Coulter, who left the firm after an audit found he created a secret bank account in the Isle of Man, will also be asked to attend.

Pimco will be asked to clarify a statement published in yesterday's 'Sunday Independent' that contradicted evidence given by Nama chairman Frank Daly to the PAC.

Mr Daly suggested that Nama made it clear to Pimco that it should remove itself from the sale process voluntarily or face being forced out by the agency after compliance concerns were raised over the proposed fee for Mr Cushnahan and a further £10m payment to be split between Tughans and US law firm Brown Rudnick.

In response, Pimco stated: "Pimco decided to withdraw from the Project Eagle tender process, not because of any Nama decision, but because of the concerns relating to the third parties that Pimco had identified as part of its due diligence checks.

"At no point was Pimco required or asked to withdraw by Nama, and no such decision was communicated by Nama to Pimco or relevant to Pimco's decision."

Irish Independent

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