90% of Nama loans sold to global hedge funds, says UN
Over 90% of all loans sold by the Republic's so-called 'bad bank' Nama (National Asset Management Agency) went to international funds over its lifetime, the United Nations has claimed.
The UN said €10.23bn (£8.8bn) of loans were sold to overseas investors, with €9.9bn (£8.5bn) going exclusively to US investors.
The Northern Ireland Nama portfolio was sold to US hedge fund Cerberus for £1bn in a controversial deal that sparked a criminal investigation by the UK's National Crime Agency.
The UN's claim was included in a highly-critical letter of government policies which have allowed "unprecedented" amounts of global capital into the Republic's housing market. The UN said foreign investment and finance was brought into the country by the Irish state through a number of measures, including the establishment of Nama in 2009 and the subsequent introduction of the Real Estate Investment Trust tax (REITs).
The letter was written by the UN's chief rapporteur of its working group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other businesses Surya Deva, as well as the UN's special rapporteur on adequate housing.
A spokesman for Nama said the loan sales represented less than a third of the bad bank's total transactions.
"In relation to the sale of loans, the ownership of the properties does not change so these funds do not become property owners or landlords, just secured creditors," the spokesman added.
He said as well as the €11bn (£9.5bn) worth of loans sold, Nama also sold €24bn (£20.7bn) worth of assets, the vast majority of which went to Irish entities.
Nama said that 69% of its asset sales went to Irish companies, while 12% went to the US. The remainder of the sales were made up of the UK, Germany, Canada, and others.