Garrett Kelleher sues over alleged leaking of information by NALM
Developer says confidential financial details disclosed but claim is denied by Nama firm
Developer Garrett Kelleher has sued a Nama company over the alleged leaking of confidential financial information
Developer Garrett Kelleher has sued a Nama company over the alleged leaking and dissemination of confidential financial information on him and his businesses to third parties.
The High Court heard on Friday that the businessman became suspicious that information he gave National Asset Loan Management Ltd (NALM) appeared in national newspapers and later, in 2011, when a bid was made for a loan he acquired to build the proposed Chicago Spire by the businessman and now US president Donald Trump.
The proposed €1.5 billion development by Mr Kelleher’s companies, which would have been one of the world’s tallest buildings, never proceeded.
Mr Kelleher alleges that confidential material, including a business plan for the Chicago project, was leaked by NALM to persons in the United States contained a valuation in respect of a loan from Anglo Irish Bank to develop the Chicago Spire project.
That loan was valued in August 2010 at $19.5 million (€17.2 million). Mr Kelleher in a sworn statement to the court said his suspicion that his confidential financial information had been “widely leaked” was heightened by the fact that, in September 2011, a bid of $20 million (€17.6 million) for the Chicago Spire Project was made by the Trump organisation.
The claim is made as part of Mr Kelleher’s damages action against NALM for an alleged breach of confidence and the deliberate, malicious disclosure of confidential information concerning himself and his companies known as the Shelbourne Group.
The claims are denied. While NALM, in its defence, accepts there was an unlawful disclosure of information by former Nama employee Enda Farrell, it is not liable for his actions.
A pretrial motion in the case came before the High Court on Friday when Jim O’Callaghan SC, with John Kerr, for Mr Kelleher sought discovery of certain documentation and records from NALM which the businessman says he needs to advance his claim.
Mr O’Callaghan said the defendant has refused to provide all the materials sought, including communication records evidencing the release of confidential information.
Counsel said information evidencing the dissemination of any of his client’s confidential information by Enda Farrell, who in 2016 received two years’ suspended prison sentence for leaking sensitive data to two investment companies, is also being sought.
Mr Farrell, of La Reine, Avenue Louise, Brussels, and formerly of Dunboyne, Co Meath, pleaded guilty to eight counts of unlawfully disclosing information, in breach of the 2009 Nama Act, between May and July 2012.
While none of the charges against Farrell related to Mr Kelleher’s affairs, the businessman wrote to the defendant in 2016 raising concerns that Mr Farrell may have leaked confidential information concerning his affairs.
He was initially told NALM had no knowledge of any leaks concerning his confidential information.
Counsel said that, in November 2016, NALM informed his client that Mr Farrell had, on dates in 2010, 2012, disseminated information concerning Mr Kelleher to three entities: QED Equity, Fidelity Worldwide Investment and Area Property Partners.
This admission counsel said resulted in NALM amending its defence from a total denial of the claims to a position where it says it is not responsible for Farrell’s actions.
Mr Kelleher believes NALM has been “evasive and disingenuous” in its dealings with him over the leaking of his confidential information, counsel said.
Counsel said Mr Farrell had admitted to gardaí that he had unlawfully given information to persons about Mr Kelleher’s loans and the Chicago Spire. However, Mr Farrell was not prosecuted in regards to those disclosures.
In reply Brian O’Moore SC, with Joe Jeffers, for NALM said the material sought by Mr Kelleher was unnecessary and too broad, and that NALM rejects all of the businessman’s claims against it.
It is disputed that some of the information concerning Mr Kelleher is confidential, as it was in the public domain, counsel said. In addition, not all of the information was exclusively held by NALM.
Counsel also told the court that it had “pursued” Mr Farrell in the civil courts over his disclosure of information, fully co-operated with the gardaí in the criminal investigation, and had informed Mr Kelleher about the breaches by Mr Farrell.
Counsel said Mr Kelleher is a serial litigant who had brought proceedings in several jurisdictions against his client.
NALM has brought proceedings in Ireland seeking judgment of €46 million from Mr Kelleher over guarantees on loans of some €350 million provided by Anglo Irish Bank for projects in Ireland and the US.
Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington reserved judgment in the discovery application.