NAMA, Wallace & the Robinsons

I see NAMA went for the “we were bumbling but honest fools” defence.

Did the fact that Cerebus knew the reserve not set off some alarm bells?

Can someone explain concisely what exactly is the alleged wrongdoing in this case?

In every major business deal including property deals there are arrays of intermediaries or fixers involved who typically call themselves agents or consultants (consider even the chain involved in the transfer of soccer players). These people know how to make a small part of the system work using their knowledge, experience and legal methods or know how to conclude a deal with some of the many parties involved (and there are many parts to large complex property deals) and they take a fee. In a small society like NI practically everyone in the property business will be connected to someone or other.

Cushnahan seems to have set himself up a fixer or an oiler of wheels but what exactly are people alleging he has done wrong apart from being a greedy so and so (unless he or others has used insider information in which case I hope he gets what’s coming to him)? The NI police seem to be investigating the deal and hopefully will prosecute any wrongdoing that may have happened.

NAMA seem to have got a complex and not hugely desirable property portfolio off their hands at the price they targeted. Did any other party offer more? I haven’t seen this alluded to. So NAMA have done the job they set out to do for this portfolio quite properly.

Wallace obviously had massive conflicts of interest with Cerberus rather than playing the role of an innocent or uninvolved observer.

Say what now?

A) Cushnahan was an officer of NAMA until a few months before the deal took place and his initial involvement was while he was still in that role.
B) Cerberus somehow managed to pitch their bid at an infinitesimal (0.08%) amount over the over the supposedly confidential reserve amount. I think it was Namawinelake who compared it to someone selling an apartment with a $124,000 reserve on a sealed bid basis and having someone associated with a former employee of the estate agent come in with a bid of €124,100.
C) Pimco pulled out as a bidder and their explanation suggests that it was because they were getting squeezed for side payments. (NAMA says they were pushed.)
D) The price achieved was apparently contingent on connected NI debtors having their personal guarantees extinguished. If the personal guarantees remained in place it would be expected that the price achieved would be higher.
E) There is a perception that the deal was structured with a winner in mind. The only other bidder seemingly felt compelled to go via the Taoiseach’s office to even get included in the process.

Cerberus are in serious difficulty here if there is any hint they knew about this payment. The FCPA is not something that should be taken lightly.

Ironic that the section of the SEC website is called “Spotlight” ! :slight_smile:

Its widely reported that Cerberus bought loans from UB in late 2014 that included some bad loans of Wallaces. So he was hardly an innocent bystander when he starting throwing muck at Cerberus was he?

They are obviously a tough outfit and have issued repayment demands against him.

Thanks for this reply. However:

A) I imagine Cushnahan would only be conflicted if he was involved in the deal while working at NAMA and if his employment or services contract was explicit on this? In the real world you can’t really stop anyone who has left an organisation from using some info they learned there, this happens in all walks of life.
B) The reserve was probably well known in the market. These things tend to be as there are too many parties involved who chat to each other, you could argue that estate agents and some legal types would probably have known the reserve and could have talked, maybe NAMA themselves did, this wouldn’t be unusual or illegal in the commercial property market.
C) Is there illegality here if agents/fixers pop up looking for payments (as long as these are not in NAMA or are state officials!), Pimco could have said no to any such chancers if they were not providing some worthwhile service?
D) I thought the reports said that this would have happened if Pimco won the bid. But Pimco weren’t awarded the contract.
E) I didn’t see anything about this but I haven’t read all material.

Somehow to me there seem to be parties involved chucking muck around for political reasons (UUP/SF) or personal/commercial vendetta reasons (Wallace). But it’s good to see the police investigating and hopefully any wrongdoing will be exposed and punished.

When I read all that I can’t help thinking back to Ivor Callely and his complete inability to distinguish between the concept of right and wrong and the technicality of being able to argue he wasn’t strictly in breach of any rules. But in this case, as has been already outlined. There are clear legal questions especially as Cerberus gave an undertaking that they were not making payments to anyone who had been associated with NAMA but €7.5m of their money ended up doing just that. The whole thing stinks. You may say “it happens in walks of life” but in this case it was Irish tax payers’ funds and if the price achieved was only 10% lower than what could have been achieved in a properly run sales process then it has cost us more than the annual budget of the National Ambulance Service.

Sorry to labour the point but what you seem to have done there is to jump from a suggestion of Cerberus possibly doing something wrong to suddenly suggesting that NAMA did not conduct a proper sales process or could have achieved a better price.

Has any property group come forward to say that they would have paid a higher price for the portfolio in question (everyone had a chance to bid) and are you insinuating that NAMA did something wrong? . BTW I am not connected in any way with NAMA and don’t hold a candle for them! But there is a lot of woolly stuff being thrown around where 1 + 1 = 5 and that is why I was asking people to define precisely what the alleged wrongdoings are and how the Irish state missed out which is the key bit from a ROI taxpayer point of view.

I think the portfolio of loans / property was supposed to sold on the open market, don’t think that happened. … on-noonan/

Great summary by broadsheet.

Nama saying that “individuals” can’t “stop” an enforcement. Seriously ? Your Head of Credit can’t influence anything ? Seriously are they hiding behind the semantics between stop influence stymie and slow down ?

I have reached a new sadness about the Irish state and its institutions, leaders and their sneakiness. It’s not even tragi-comic any more.

I don’t see how you can describe that as a “jump”. The two are inextricably linked. When Cerberus paid £6m to Frank Cushnahan they clearly thought they were getting some benefit for that payment. Either they did get a benefit, and they took control of the portfolio on terms more favourable than would have been achieved on an open/arms length basis, or they didn’t and a Northern Ireland wheeler dealer managed to pull one over on a successful global distressed investment specialist. I know which variant I think is more likely.

NAMA appear to be going for the Pat Neary “I don’t know anything, let alone how to do my job” defence here.

concur entirely, what a fckn disgrace

Thursday 22.45 Spotlight BBC One
Mick Wallace talks about Nama’s Northern Ireland property loan portfolio.

From Namawinelake

Northern Ireland Assembly Progress Report on the NAMA Sale

And some interesting bits highlighted in

At least the FG gimps on this forum have stopped attacking Wallace for the state of his hair.

Two men have been arrested in a fraud investigation in the North.
Searches were carried out in Co Down in connection with the inquiry into the controversial £1.2bn sale of assets and property owned by the Nama to US investment firm Cerberus. … n-ireland/

I heard RTEs Sean Whelan on the Six O Clock news. At one point he was at pains to stress that as the allegations were on the “Buy” side and Nama were on the “Sell” side there was no issue for Nama. Jesus Christ seriously ? :unamused:
Is Sean Whelan angling for Paul Reynolds job ?


Perhaps Enda got one of Sean’s family a J1 too ?

Just like with the Frank Flannery VAT evasion (Rehab) and Panama disclosures, this one will be ignored long enough for Enda and Michael to retire first.