Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Nama opts against McKillen loans

Ireland's bad-bank has decided not to acquire more than one billion euro worth of loans held by property investor Paddy McKillen

Ireland's bad-bank has decided not to acquire about 1.4 billion euro (£1.2 billion) worth of loans held by property investor Paddy McKillen.

The National Assets Management Agency (Nama) revealed that it will leave the Belfast-born financier off its books after it lost part of a crucial legal battle against him earlier this year.

Nama, which controls 72.3 billion euro (£63.4bn) of debt and loans from property deals, said the decision not to go after Mr McKillen was based on "current rather than the historical composition" of loans.

A Nama spokesman said: "The decision of the board not to acquire reflects the fact that the composition of the loans under consideration changed substantially. The land and development exposure declined significantly since December 2009 and the loans were no longer deemed material in the way they had been in December 09."

Nama had the opportunity to absorb Mr McKillen's loans any time after the Supreme Court earlier this year found its operations were constitutional.

However, judges also ruled that Nama had never made any lawful decision to acquire some of his loans as they moved against holdings in December 2009 before the bad-bank was put on a statutory footing.

The Supreme Court has awarded Mr McKillen all the costs of his legal action against the State, which runs to several million.

A Nama spokesman said Mr McKillen's loan portfolio was reassessed over the last five months and a presentation of his holdings, including new material, was examined. Nama officials did not meet personally with the investor.

Mr McKillen had a minority stake in the five star Maybourne Hotel Group which controls the Berkeley, Claridge's and the Connaught in London. It is understood Nama has control of some of the finances behind the group.

Earlier this year, the owners of the Daily Telegraph, Barclay brothers Sir David and Sir Frederick, invested in the hotel group.

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