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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 21 December, 2014

Nama has clawed back €800 million from debtors putting assets ‘beyond its reach’

Fianna Fail’s Michael McGrath said the news raises “fundamental questions” about debtor co-operation.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE NATIONAL ASSET Management Agency has recouped more than €800 million that debtors had transferred beyond the agency’s reach.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan confirmed that the agency swooped for the assets, about two thirds of which was in property, in a reply to Fianna Fail Finance Spokesman Michael McGrath.

The remaining third was mostly comprised of share portfolios as cash, the Finance Minister said.

Offence

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, McGrath said that there was a possibility that the debtors had committed an offence under section seven of the Nama act, which makes it an offense to withhold information relevant to the operation of the agency.

He said that “it is implicit from the Minister’s reply that debtors went out of their way to put assets beyond the reach of Nama”.

It does raise a fundamental question about the lack of co-operation from some of Nama’s debtors.

He said that the bad bank deserved praise for pursuing debtors that had attempted to move assets, but added that “it would be naive to believe they had identified all instances where debtors moved assets beyond the agency’s reach”.

Private sector

McGrath said that the agency is facing a major problem with former employers transitioning into the private sector, often with intimate knowledge of Nama’s property portfolio.

“That continues to be a major issue facing the agency…a cooling off period has been introduced, but the reality is they have a high staff turnover.”

They don’t have long term jobs security, they have access to highly sensitive commercial information, and there is a real conflict of interest when they go on to join private sector property firms after their work with the agency.

Read: How many Nama debtors have gone bankrupt so far?>

Read: Nama has completed over €5 billion in loan and property sales so far this year>

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