Businessman Harry Crosbie accuses Nama of bullying
Nama moved to enforce a €77 million judgment after Mr Crosbie failed to disclose assets to the agency
Nama claims Mr Crosbie failed to disclose substantial assets to the agency and paid his wife €1.4 million just prior to it taking over his loans in 2010
Businessman Harry Crosbie has accused the National Assets Management Agency (Nama) of trying to “bully” and “bulldoze” him and will ask the courts next week to try and stop it enforcing a €77 million judgment against him.
Michael McDowell SC, for Mr Crosbie, told Mr Justice David Keane on Friday he wants a stay on the judge’s decision that Nama is entitled to the €77 million summary judgment. The stay is sought pending the outcome of separate proceedings initiated by Mr Crosbie against the agency after it moved for that summary judgment.
In his proceedings, Mr Crosbie claims he has a “solemn” and enforceable agreement with Nama, set out in an August 2012 letter from his solicitor Liam McCabe. In consideration for Mr Crosbie giving the agency security in various assets, Mr Crosbie claims the alleged agreement restrains certain actions by the agency, including moving against his family home, his son’s home and a a business carried on by his wife. Nama was also to try and settle Mr Crosbie’s debts with KBC and ABN AMRO banks.
The fact Nama is applying on Monday to have the hearing of Mr Crosbie’s proceedings fast-tracked in the Commercial Court is another move in a “well-orchestrated campaign” by the agency to “bully” his client, Mr McDowell said. Nama had publicly “thrown one brickbat after another” at Mr Crosbie.
His side would consent to have Mr Crosbie’s case fast-tracked but believed Nama should have not made the fast-track application until this court decided whether a stay should be granted on enforcement and execution of the €77 million judgment ruling made last week.
Fixing next Tuesday to hear the stay application, Mr Justice Keane said it seemed the issues being raised were “somewhat novel”.
Paul Sreenan, with Kelly Smith BL, for Nama, said the agency would not be taking any steps in the intervening period beyond seeking on Monday to have Mr Crosbie’s case fast-tracked in the Commercial Court and seeking a date for hearing a motion by the agency regarding that case.
Nama moved to enforce the €77 million loans after Mr Crosbie failed to disclose substantial assets to the agency when first asked to do so, Mr Justice Keane was told last May.
A letter from solicitors for Nama said full and complete disclosure was a requirement of the agency’s January 2012 Memorandum of Understanding with Mr Crosbie and his “lack of candour” in dealings with Nama was “simply not acceptable”, especially when Mr Crosbie and related companies collectively owed the agency more than €420 million.
Nama said it wanted judgment so it could secure that against assets owned by Mr Crosbie, whether here or abroad, not currently secured in favour of any other party. Nama believed there was equity in the Vicar Street music venue and Mr Crosbie owns valuable antiques and an interest in unencumbered properties in France. It also claimed he voluntarily transferred some €2.9 million between 2008 and 2011 and Nama would be better placed to investigate those transactions if it got judgment. Nama rejected Mr Crosbie’s claims the McCabe letter amounts to a binding agreement restraining enforcement action by it. In his ruling last week, Mr Justice Keane said there were no words in the McCabe letter to the effect Nama would refrain from seeking a money judgment against Mr Crosbie or taking enforcement action against his assets generally.
Stay on enforcement
Mr Crosbie, in his stay application, wants a stay on enforcement of the €77m judgment pending determination of issues referred to in the judge’s ruling, including whether Nama is restrained by an agreement in the McCabe letter, for as long as that agreement lasted, from taking enforcement action against Mr Crosbie and his son regarding their homes, an interest of Mr Crosbie in a French property and certain businesses of Mr Crosbie’s son and wife.
Mr Crosbie previously argued Nama was effectively trying to bankrupt him and was bound by the agreement in the McCabe letter.
NAMA’s €77 million judgment claim arose from personal debts of Mr Crosbie and his guarantees of the liabilities of Shoal Trading Ltd and Ossory Park Management Ltd (OPML). The agency is not seeking judgment concerning other sums due under a separate €353m facility for development of the Point Village. Recourse for the €353 million is limited to assets provided as security, plus an additional personal recourse amount.