Nama criticised by High Court judge for ‘slipshod’ summary bid
Mr Justice Peter Kelly says he would have expected better of such a ‘well-resourced’ body in case against Galway hotelier
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said Nama’s “unprecedented” powers in some respects eclipsed those of the State. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh
A High Court judge has strongly criticised Nama over a “slipshod” handling of its bid to secure €109 million summary judgment orders against Galway hotelier and developer Michael Finn and his wife Claire at the Commercial Court over unpaid loans and guarantees.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he would have expected better of such a “well-resourced” body with “unprecedented” powers that in some respects eclipsed those of the State.
His concerns included that a “most alarming” certificate, issued under section 108 of the Nama Act 2009, purporting to show the couple’s loans with AIB were transferred to Nama, included a blank schedule of assets transferred.
Given Nama’s “paucity of evidence” to show it had in 2010 taken over the AIB and Anglo loans to the couple, the judge said it was not surprising the agency had decided to withdraw its application for summary judgment against the couple and consent to the matter going to a full hearing. Had it not done so, he would have refused summary judgment.
He refused to grant an application by Ben Ó Fhloinn, for Mr Finn, to dismiss the agency’s claim for judgment. The Finns had not argued the loans were not transferred but rather argued there was a “huge gap” in its evidence in that regard.
Mr Ó Fhloinn had argued that despite having powers that would “make a government blush”, Nama had failed to show it had legally taken over the loans in 2010.
Nama previously alleged the couple had invested €600,000 in companies operating a high- end car resale business and transferred shares in their family home to their children rather than using funds to reduce their significant liabilities to it.