Belfast Telegraph

Nama deal: Businessman Frank Cushnahan aware of US investment firm Pimco's interest in purchasing Northern Ireland loan portfolio

By Simon Rowe

Businessman Frank Cushnahan was aware of US investment firm Pimco's interest in purchasing Nama's northern loan portfolio at least a month before he resigned as an adviser to the agency.

Mr Cushnahan's knowledge of Pimco's interest in the Project Eagle loans was confirmed by documents.

Nama had previously stated that the former banker, who advised the agency in Northern Ireland for three years, did not have access to confidential information relating to the sale, including the identity of bidders.

However, minutes of a meeting of Nama's Northern Ireland Advisory Committee (NIAC) on October 7, 2013, show Mr Cushnahan and others present were informed by Nama chairman Frank Daly that Pimco had made "an unsolicited approach" for the portfolio.

Just over four weeks later Mr Cushnahan quit his role with Nama, citing family priorities.

However, unknown to the agency, he went on to act as an adviser to Pimco. Nama was informed by Pimco in March 2014 that Mr Cushnahan stood to earn £5m in fees if Pimco was successful in buying the portfolio.

Pimco voluntarily withdrew from the bidding after Nama raised concerns about the proposed fees.

It is not known what services Mr Cushnahan provided to Pimco.

A statement issued by Mr Cushnahan's solicitor last month said he firmly denied wrongdoing.

The Project Eagle portfolio, comprising loans given to 55 debtors from Northern Ireland and secured on around 900 properties, was subsequently sold to US vulture fund Cerberus for €1.6bn in April 2014.

Belfast Telegraph