Ex-Nama executive to advise Denis O’Brien

Tycoon’s friendship with John Mulcahy understood to go back several years

John Mulcahy: has separately joined the private sector board of Iput, an Irish commercial real estate fund with debt-free assets of €1 billion. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/Fennells

John Mulcahy: has separately joined the private sector board of Iput, an Irish commercial real estate fund with debt-free assets of €1 billion. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/Fennells

 

The former head of asset management at the National Asset Management Agency, John Mulcahy, is preparing to advise billionaire Denis O’Brien on his overseas property empire.

Mr Mulcahy, who on Tuesday separately joined the private sector board of Iput, an Irish commercial real estate fund with debt-free assets of €1 billion, mainly in Dublin, declined to comment.

However, it is understood he will begin to advise Mr O’Brien on some of his international property assets only after July 17th, which will be more than six months after resigning from his senior position in Nama.

Property assets

Mr O’Brien’s international property assets are worth hundreds of millions of euro and include hotels, golf courses, office blocks and houses. Most of his property is in Portugal and the Caribbean, but he also has assets in other countries.

Mr O’Brien’s spokesman, James Morrissey, did not respond to requests for comment.

Iput appointed Mr Mulcahy, the former chairman and chief executive of Jones Lang LaSalle, to its board as a non-executive director.

Mr O’Brien was never a client of Nama. His friendship with Mr Mulcahy is understood to go back over many decades.

Both own homes in Mount Juliet, a 1,500-acre hotel and country club in Co Kilkenny.

Mr O’Brien has been beefing up his advisory team in recent months, as the billionaire expands his telecoms and property empire in Ireland and overseas. Earlier this month, it was reported he had lined up Bernard McNamara, one of Nama’s biggest clients before the developer exited his €1.2 billion UK bankruptcy in March, to work on the €25 million redevelopment of Canada House on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green.

 

Cowen and Topaz

In May, Mr O’Brien appointed former taoiseach Brian Cowen to the board of his fuel retail business Topaz. Mr Cowen was minister for finance during the property bubble that required the State to set up Nama to try and bailout its banks.

 

Mr O’Brien is also a friend of Paddy McKillen, a successful developer, who fought a long legal battle against the Barclay brothers and Nama for control of a luxury hotel group in London.

Mr McKillen was not a client of Nama after he won a court case stopping the State property agency taking over his loans from Anglo Irish Bank, which he later repaid at par. In March 2013, Mr O’Brien and Mr McKillen won a High Court injunction preventing the Sunday Times revealing confidential material about their business relationship.