Belfast Telegraph

Developer launches appeal bid over Nama

The Supreme Court in Dublin has been asked to overturn a High Court decision over the transfer of Belfast-born property investor Paddy McKillen's loans to Nama.

A seven-judge court yesterday began hearing Mr McKillen's appeal by Mr McKillen aimed at preventing the proposed transfer to the Republic's bad bank of some €2.1bn loans made to himself and his companies.

That proposed acquisition would be "a commercial disaster" for Mr McKillen and was based on a total denial of his constitutional right to fair procedures, said Michael Cush, legal counsel for Mr McKillen.

While the State would argue the economic crisis justified the total abrogation of that right in the Nama Act 2009, legal cases from the McCarthy era in the United States showed the courts must guard this right "in times of calm and of trouble", his counsel said.

Mr Cush stressed he was urging this right only on behalf of Mr McKillen in circumstances where, unlike many others going into Nama, he was not a loan defaulter, most of his loans were performing and only a tiny percentage were land and development loans.

The Irish courts had never sanctioned a total denial of the right to fair procedures and the High Court, in dismissing Mr McKillen's bid to stop the loan transfer, failed to properly analyse the justification for the breach of fair procedures, confusing it with the justification for breach of property rights, he added.

Mr Cush said the value of the properties on which his clients loans are secured, after the clearance of mortgages and other encumbrances, is some €200m now.

Nama is a "work-out vehicle" and would seek to sell either the properties or the loans within a shorter time frame - contrary to Mr McKillen's business model of long-term investment and in breach of his constitutional rights to property, to earn a livelihood and his contractual rights with his banks, counsel said.

Mr Cush was opening the appeal, listed for three days, by Mr McKillen and 15 of his companies against the rejection by a three judge High Court last month of their challenge to the transfer to Nama of their loans with Bank of Ireland.

The Maybourne Group, one of Mr McKillen's companies, owns Claridges and the Berkeley hotels in London.