Docklands king's downfall – why Nama pursued Harry Crosbie

Solicitor’s letter reveals 11 reasons Nama decided to target developer

Fri, May 16, 2014, 01:03

8 “Accounts show that the following drawings were made by your client . . . €1.5 million in 2011, €1.55 million in 2010, €1.22 million in 2009 and €2.86 million in 2008 from various companies in the connection.”

9 “The statement of affairs furnished to Nama did not disclose funds that are held on deposit both in Ireland and France.”

10 “In your letter of 22 June 2012, you indicate that a property in St Remi, France was acquired by a company called Greenroth and that the shareholding in the company is owned by Rita Crosbie and Christian Frankel.

However, in preparing tax returns, Mr Crosbie declared an interest in this property.”

11 “In the statement of affairs furnished, Mr Crosbie valued a property in Nice at €1 million, whereas Nama understands that the property is in fact situated in Cap Ferrat and is valued at between €3.5 million and €4.5 million.”

McCann FitzGerald also said that Nama believes “representations” were made to Live Nation, co-owner of the O2 theatre with Mr Crosbie, on the Dubliner’s behalf “asking them to withhold their consent” to it taking a charge on his shares in the company.

Nama does not say who intervened but, if this happened, it must have been someone very influential to be able to tell the world’s biggest music promoter what to do.

Emails attached to a supplemental affidavit by Bernard McLoughlin, senior asset recovery manager with Nama, give further insight.

On June 22nd, 2012, Nama warned Mr Crosbie’s lawyers that if the businessman “purposefully and willingly decided to omit assets and transfers which should have been declared”, then it will consider seeking to have him “prosecuted for breaking the law” under the Nama Act.

Mr Crosbie in a letter to Nama on March 28th, 2011, accused his then portfolio manager Paul Hennigan of acting like a “caped crusader and we are evil doers”.

This week Mr Crosbie claimed he was bullied in “vicious” negotiations with Nama.

However, Mr McLoughlin, his Nama manager since September 2012, disputes this: “Save as outlined in his letter of 28 March 2011, the defendant never raised any further issue in relation to Mr Hennigan. If the defendant did have any further concerns . . . it is unfortunate that he failed to raise such issues in a manner which might have facilitated a resolution rather than making serious allegations against a named individual in this forum.”

Mr Crosbie disputes every serious allegation made by Nama. He says any asset omissions were “unintentional,” and notes Nama took €20m in cash from him in December 2010.

His legal team argues he deserves the opportunity to present fully his position in court. It claims he had a “comprehensive agreement” with Nama not to pursue him personally in return for certain actions including selling his stake in the O2 for €35 million and putting his French properties up for sale. Nama says it never agreed to any such deal.

In the coming weeks, Mr Crosbie will learn whether he will be allowed to mount a full defence, or if the curtain is about to fall.