Monday 20 November 2017

Never before has so much been controlled by so few

The concerns I had over Nama earlier this year were well-founded, given last week's news of the Garda probe, writes Eddie Hobbs

Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh, right, with agency chariman Frank Daly. Photo: Frank McGrath
Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh, right, with agency chariman Frank Daly. Photo: Frank McGrath

Eddie Hobbs

Early in March last year, while in conversation with a UK private wealth manager, I learned that an Irish client of its firm had been approached by an officer from Nama offering access to privileged inside information on asset sales -- in return for cash. The Nama officer was possessed of detailed knowledge of the client. Understandably I tried to get direct access to the client to research and validate the allegation but he informed the UK firm that he wished to preserve his anonymity. This week I reopened the channel to the Irish client who confirmed that the Nama officer who'd approached him was not Enda Farrell, the ex-Nama employee named in connection with wrongdoing.

Given the seriousness of the allegation, I penned an open letter to Nama chairman Frank Daly in March last year having first consulted a CEO, an international corporate governance veteran. What followed, published by the Daily Star on March 21 when the Nama chairman replied, takes on added significance, given the events of the past week involving garda investigation into certain alleged activities within Nama.

"Dear Frank,

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