Nama chairman insists political pressure did not influence sale of Nama's £1.3bn loans book
Frank Daly and chief executive Brendan McDonagh have been grilled by the Dail's Public Accounts Committee
The head of Nama today insisted that political pressure did not influence the sale of its Northern Ireland loan book.
Chairman Frank Daly said the £1.3billion sell-off was robust, competitive and achieved the best deal possible for Irish taxpayers.
He made the comments as he appeared before the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this morning.
Nama is the Republic's "bad bank" set up by the Irish government to clear property loans from bailed out lenders.
The PAC is hearing evidence from senior officials on the sale of the agency's Northern Ireland portfolio, which comprised about 850 assets.
It was sold en masse in April 2014 in the biggest property deal in Northern Ireland's history.
Yesterday the PSNI said it was probing the huge purchase by US investment firm Cerberus Capital Management.
It follows explosive allegations levelled in the Irish parliament last week by independent TD Mick Wallace.
Using parliamentary privilege, Mr Wallace alleged that £7million in an Isle of Man account linked to the deal was "reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or political party".
Today it emerged a second bidder, besides Cerberus, was involved in negotiations for the purchase.
This was after Pimco had withdrawn from the process.
Mr Daly said no pressure from any source, political or otherwise, had pressured Nama in the sale of its Northern Ireland assets.
Mr Daly insisted the alleged £7m payment did not come from Nama.
Mr Daly also moved to clarify a reported £3bn write-down in the price Nama secured for its assets.
He referred to reports that the assets were sold for £1.3bn - less than a third of their £4.5bn face value.
Mr Daly said: "Nama sold the assets for exactly what they were worth and not a cent less.
"The assets may – years earlier – have been worth more but the fall in their value was a result of the property crash and they were not worth anything more that the price Nama achieved when sold by Nama."
Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said he was happy the sale would stand up to "rigorous scrutiny".
Mr McDonagh said efforts to besmirch Nama's reputation over the sale were "entirely unfair".
The hearing continues.
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