One million tune in for TV expose of NAMA fatcats
NEARLY one million people watched developer Gerry Gannon loading designer shopping bags into his Range Rover.
Record numbers tuned in to Prime Time Investigates on Monday night to witness the high life that is still be enjoyed by developers in NAMA.
Although taxpayers are unlikely to have been shocked by the revelations that Celtic Tiger tycoons continue to splurge, there was huge interest in seeing just exactly how they ignore the austerity that faces the rest of the country.
The viewership hit a new high for RTE's Prime Time as developers including Mr Gannon, Sean Dunne, Bernard McNamara, Michael O'Flynn and Seamus Ross featured.
The documentary explained how many developers transferred millions of euros worth of assets to their wives' names as the boom went bust.
It has now emerged that properties which changed hands in advance of NAMA's formation are outside the reach of the agency.
The Government last night confirmed that the agency can only pursue transfers that took place after November 2009.
Minister Pat Carey said: "We can't simply legislate for matters that took place before NAMA was even set up, and some of those transfers took place in that phase."
As questions were raised about the success of NAMA, it moved to defend its record of pursuing developers.
It is understood that most of the biggest 30 names within the agency's remit have transferred assets to family members.
One report today suggested that Mr Gannon's wife Margaret faces the prospect of being forced to hand over millions of euro worth of properties transferred into her name.
Mr Gannon of Gannon Homes owes €1bn to banks but transferred more than two dozen properties to his wife.
But it has now been claimed that Mrs Gannon gave some personal guarantees to the banks over loans taken out in her name.