Nama challenges jeweller's fee

National Asset Management Agency has raised an issue whether a Dublin jeweller may retain a ?7,500 sum as his commission on the sale of a diamond ring.

National Asset Management Agency has raised an issue whether a Dublin jeweller may retain a ?7,500 sum as his commission on the sale of a diamond ring.

Mon, Feb 18, 2013, 00:00

The National Asset Management Agency has raised an issue whether a Dublin jeweller may retain a €7,500 sum as his commission on the €149,000 sale of a 8.38 carat diamond solitaire ring owned by the wife of developer John McCabe.

At the Commercial Court today, Mr Justice Peter Kelly stressed there was no issue about the integrity of jeweller John Farrington concerning his involvement in the sale of the ring in Florida earlier this month.

However, the entirety of the €149,000 proceeds of sale must, pending further order, be provided to a receiver appointed by Nama over those proceeds, plus a diamond bracelet and necklace of Mary McCabe's, the judge said.

Receiver Jim Hamilton now has possession of the bracelet and necklace but the ring was sold in Florida some two weeks after the agency asked M McCabe to hand it over.

Ms McCabe is the wife of John McCabe, whose companies owe €235 million to Nama. Last year, the agency secured judgment orders in various sums against the couple and members of their family.

Nama, in seeking to recover a €20 million judgment against Ms McCabe, had challenged as too low a €140,000 collective valuation placed by her on the ring, bracelet and necklace.

Today, after Mr Justice Kelly was told by John McCabe Jnr, son of Ms McCabe, she was not contesting the receiver's appointment, the judge confirmed that appointment.

Rossa Fanning, for Nama, said an issue had arisen in that Mr Farrington had deducted 5 per cent commission from the sale proceeds of the ring. Some €142,000 was transferred to an account for the receiver but commission of €7,500 had been retained.

The receiver had also stated he was advised by Mr McCabe jnr that Mr Farrington had agreed to sell the ring for no commission so it was not clear why commission had been deducted, counsel said.

Mr Farrington was put out by the attention on his role but there was no allegation against him and no complaint about his integrity, counsel also stressed. However, it was not open to him to choose his commission and he was obliged to give the receiver all the sale proceeds after which he could seek to vary the court order.

The receiver will be seeking details about the purchaser of the ring and intends to engage an expert to advise about disposal of the braclet and necklace, counsel added.

Counsel for Mr Farrington said he received the funds from sale of the ring on February 14th and transferred them to the receiver the next day. Mr Farrington claimed he was entitled to restitution but was in the court's hands as to what was to be done with the commission sum pending resolution of that matter.

Counsel added she needed to take instructions concerning what the court had been told was said by John McCabe Jnr [about commission].

Mr Justice Kelly said Mr Farrington may have suffered due to being "caught in the crossifre" between Nama and Ms McCabe but there was no allegation of any impropriety against him. Mr Farrington probably deducted the commission as a matter of normal trade but it would have to be decided later whether he is entitled to commission, the judge said.

He made an order directing all the sale proceeds be given to the receiver to be retained pending a decision on commission later. The matter was adjourned to the next court term.