Belfast Telegraph

Developer loses Irish toxic bank loans case

By Emmet Oliver and Tim Healy

Property developer Paddy McKillen suffered a humiliating court defeat yesterday after losing his fight against the Republic’s toxic bank, Nama, taking over his loans.

Three judges decided that Nama doesn't interfere with the Belfast-born man’s constitutional rights in any meaningful way, leaving him with a potential €1m (£865,000) legal bill.

McKillen (54) had fought moves by Nama to take over his loans, arguing they were not impaired.

But after his defeat future cases against Nama by other developers are now highly unlikely.

The Dublin High Court judgment could be appealed to the Supreme Court by Mr McKillen, but legal experts yesterday were unable to identify any grounds for an appeal.

The judgment, which was welcomed by Nama, even included comments on McKillen's “business model'', pointing out that he funds long-term property investments with short-term loans. The judgment said this left Mr McKillen and other developers at the “mercy'' of the banks.

Mr McKillen, originally from west Belfast but living in Foxrock, Dublin, has built up a huge property empire in Ireland and the UK. He and his companies own the Jervis Centre in Dublin and Claridges Hotel in London. His loans could now be moved into Nama, although this is not likely to happen until the issue of an appeal is cleared up.

The judgment, handed to journalists yesterday, concluded that Mr McKillen's rights were either “not interfered with by the Act” or interfered with in such a minor way that Mr McKillen didn’t need to be heard before his loans were taken over by Nama.

Noting Mr McKillen's arguments his loans were not impaired, the court said it did not have to address whether they were or not as it was open to Nama to acquire even non-impaired loans.

Speaking yesterday, Conor Houlihan, a partner with Dillon Eustace, said: “Today's decision must significantly reduce the likelihood of others initiating similar court actions against Nama.”

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