Nama could be questioned on sale of Quinlan Private loans

State agency to appear before Public Accounts Committee

Clairvue-Nantes paid Nama €26.6 million for the loans, secured on properties bought by Quinlan Private, a partnership led by financial adviser, Derek Quinlan, in February 2012.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Clairvue-Nantes paid Nama €26.6 million for the loans, secured on properties bought by Quinlan Private, a partnership led by financial adviser, Derek Quinlan, in February 2012. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

State assets agency Nama could face questions on Thursday about the sale of loans linked to boom-era property player Quinlan Private to a Luxembourg company whose directors included one of the Irish firm’s senior employees.

Nama, probably represented by chairman Frank Daly and chief executive Brendan McDonagh, is due before the Dáil Committee on Public Accounts on Thursday to discuss the agency’s financial statements.

TDs could quiz the agency about the sale of €352 million worth of loans linked to Quinlan Private to Luxembourg-based Clairvue-Nantes, whose directors include Mark Donnelly. He is a former Quinlan employee but had no direct interest in the loans that Nama sold.

Clairvue-Nantes paid Nama €26.6 million for the loans, secured on properties bought by Quinlan Private, a partnership led by financial adviser, Derek Quinlan, in February 2012.

The Luxembourg business was set up to buy “distressed property portfolios”, that is loans secured on assets whose value had fallen below that of the loans secured against them, leaving the borrowers with little chance of repaying them.

Company filings show that it bought three such portfolios from Irish lenders, including one called Project Nantes from Nama.

Private

Independent TD Mick Wallace said yesterday that the sale of Project Nantes, was private rather than on the open market. He wants Nama to explain why it sold the loans in this way and for such a substantial discount.

Mr Wallace also asked if Nama knew of Mr Donnelly’s involvement in Clairvue-Nantes.

Clairvue’s returns confirm that it paid €26.6 million for the Quinlan Private loans. The price paid was a 92 per cent discount on the actual balance due, which was €352.4 million.

Buying the loans gave Clairvue the right to seek repayment of the €352 million or to take control of the properties against which they were secured. Company returns for 2017 indicate that it still holds the loans.

Clairvue-Nantes filings show that it recruited Mr Donnelly as a director in February 2012, when it bought the loans from Nama. It is understood it hired him as he had been a senior figure in Quinlan Private and was familiar with the properties and the loans.

No personal interest

Mr Donnelly was an employee of Quinlan and was not a partner and therefore had no personal interest in the loans. He was not one of the borrowers involved and neither did he owe Nama any liabilities.

He is now chief financial officer with Avestus, a property developer established by former members of Quinlan Private’s management.

Financier and tax advisor Derek Quinlan established Quinlan Private. The partnership brought together investors, mainly wealthy individuals, to buy property using a mix of their own cash and bank debt.

In 2004, it bought the London’s Savoy Hotel chain for €1.1 billion. However, it was one of the highest-profile casualties of the financial crash four years later.