The statistics don’t favour Crosbie in his Nama court battle

Cantillon: in 60 cases concluded the agency had a 100 per cent record of success

Harry Crosbie’s High Court case will hinge on whether he can convince the court that an August 2012 agreement with Nama was a “full and final settlement”, as he claims, or a temporary offer of forbearance, as the agency claims. Photograph: Alan Betson

Harry Crosbie’s High Court case will hinge on whether he can convince the court that an August 2012 agreement with Nama was a “full and final settlement”, as he claims, or a temporary offer of forbearance, as the agency claims. Photograph: Alan Betson

Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 01:00

Harry Crosbie, the docklands developer, is as entitled to issue lawsuits against Nama as the agency is to defend them. Unless a settlement is agreed beforehand it will be for a High Court judge to decide on the merits of this particular case. The statistics, however, do not bode well for the developer.

The latest Nama annual report lays out the agency’s record in the plethora of legal actions it has become embroiled in since it was established.

By the time the annual report was published in May, Nama had launched 118 legal actions against its debtors. About 58 of those were still ongoing. In the remaining 60 cases that were concluded, the agency had a 100 per cent record of success, securing judgments totalling €2.3 billion.

If Nama is routinely successful when it goes on the attack, how does it generally perform when on the defence, as it will be with this latest Crosbie case?

Unfortunately for the developer of the then-named Grand Canal Theatre, there is little succour for him on this score, either.

A total of 33 actions have been taken against the agency by Nama debtors, of which 18 are still in play. Of the remaining 14, Nama has won the baker’s dozen. Its sole loss – and Nama would argue it was only a partial loss – came in a Supreme Court appeal by Paddy McKillen, the tenacious Tyrone developer.

Mr Crosbie’s case will hinge on whether he can convince the court that an August 2012 agreement with Nama, which required him to hand over control of certain assets but left others unencumbered, was a “full and final settlement”, as he claims, or merely a temporary offer of forbearance, as the agency claims.

Mr Crosbie has previously characterised Nama staff as “caped crusaders” who see him as an “evil doer”. Both sides are limbering up for what appears to be a bitter battle. The statistical odds might be stacked against Crosbie but one thing is for certain: it won’t be a dull affair.

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