Belfast Telegraph

Nama lost out on £190m Northern Ireland property sale, says Republic's watchdog

By Staff Reporter

The Republic's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is expected to find that Nama could have secured an additional £190m for the Irish exchequer when it sold it's Northern Ireland property portfolio.

Ireland's so-called 'bad bank' Nama sold the portfolio for £1.137bn in 2014 to Cerberus Capital Management, a US Investment fund.

The Dail's PAC has been investigating claims it was offloaded for less than it was worth.

The Sunday Times has reported that when the PAC report is launched at Leinster House tomorrow it will agree with the Irish comptroller and auditor general (C&AG) that Nama could have secured an additional £190m for it.

It is expected to conclude there was an "actual loss" to the Irish exchequer from the sale.

It is also expected to find that last year's special report by Seamus McCarthy, the C&AG, was "reasonable, balanced and evidence-based".

The newspaper reported the findings of the Irish PAC also described Nama's sales strategy as "flawed" and "compromised", adding that the sales process was underminded by contacts as early as 2012 between Frank Cushnahan, a member of Nama's Northern Ireland advisory committee, and two law firms that acted for Cerberus - Tughans in Belfast and Brown Rudnick in New York.

Pimco, another US company, pulled out of the sale in March 2014 after telling Nama there was an arrangement in place for £16m in "success fees" to be split between Cushnahan, Tughan's then managing partner Ian Coulter and Brown Rudnick.

Nama's position is that any irregularity in the process was on the purchase side, not on the sale side.

The PAC's members have unanimously agreed to recommend that a commission of investigation into the sale, approved by political party leaders in Dublin last year, should go ahead.

Mr Cushnahan has repeatedly rejected any suggestions of wrongdoing in relation to the Nama scandal.

He was accused in 2015 by a BBC Spotlight programme of receiving an illegal fixer's fee for arranging the sale of the Northern Ireland portfolio to Cerberus.

Belfast Telegraph

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