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Frank Cushnahan: I knew nothing of alleged fee over Chinese Nama sale bid

By Ronald Quinlan

Nama's former Northern Ireland adviser has said he "had no knowledge" of an alleged fee which would have been payable to him and an English businessman in relation to a bid to sell the Irish toxic bank's assets to wealthy Chinese investors.

Belfast businessman and former Nama adviser Frank Cushnahan remains at the centre of the ongoing controversy surrounding Nama's 2014 sale for £1.2bn of its Northern Ireland loan book to US private equity giant Cerberus.

Mr Cushnahan issued a statement through his solicitor in which he said he knew nothing of an alleged fee that would have been payable to him and the businessman, proposed in an information memorandum prepared for prospective Chinese buyers of Nama assets in 2011.

It has been claimed the Chinese investors had at least £1bn at their disposal.

But while Mr Cushnahan insisted he was unaware of the fee proposal, the statement conceded he had been involved in efforts to secure Chinese buyers for Nama's assets while serving on the Irish agency's Northern Ireland advisory committee.

The statement stressed that "had any commercial agreement been reached with the Chinese or any other potential purchaser, then my client would have made a full disclosure to Nama".

Referring to Mr Cushnahan's involvement in efforts to find buyers for Nama's assets, his solicitor added: "My client had no reason to believe that he was not entitled to encourage the interest of potential buyers and long-term investors from overseas.

"I have categoric instructions that any discussions would have related to not only Nama debt but would also have involved other institutional assets, this forming the core basis of Mr Cushnahan's business and expertise over the years."

Nama's sale in April 2014 of its Northern Ireland loan to US private equity giant Cerberus meanwhile remains the subject of investigation by both the UK's National Crime Agency and the SEC in the USA.

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