Nama timeline: 2009 to present
At stake in the North were loans with a nominal value of approximately €5.7 billion
Sammy Wilson, who met with minister for finance Brian Lenihan in October 2009 to discuss Nama’s Northern portfolio. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
2009: Nama created to deal with toxic bank loans. It is greeted by more than a degree of wariness in the North amongst business and political leaders. At stake in the North were loans with a nominal value of approximately €5.7 billion.
October 2009: Northern Ireland Minister for Finance and Personnel Sammy Wilson meets with Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan to discuss Nama’s Northern portfolio and demands a “Northern Ireland seat” on the agency’s board. Mr Lenihan refuses.
May 2010: In response to requests and concerns from the North a Northern Ireland Advisory Committee is created, chaired by board member Peter Stewart. Two Northern Ireland representatives are appointed to this board: Frank Cushnahan and Brian Rowntree. How they were selected remains unclear, but in a presentation delivered by Nama in the North in June 2013 “external membership was nominated by NI Minister for Finance & Personnel”. At the time that was Mr Wilson.
May 2012: Mr Cushnahan and Mr Rowntree reappointed to advisory board for a further two years up to April 2014 “following consultation” with Ministers Noonan and Wilson.
June 2012: Both Mr Rowntree and Mr Cushnahan are heavily criticised in a damning report published by the Northern Ireland Audit Office over major maintenance contracts awarded by the Northern Ireland Housing Association to a Belfast construction firm Red Sky. Mr Cushnahan was chairman of Red Sky. He was also a member of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Mr Rowntree was its chairman. Both resign from the Executive, Mr Rowntree doing so before publication of the report.
Independent TD Mick Wallace says they resigned after the Audit Office report found guideline breaches in the conduct of at least 27 land deals.
June 2013: Sammy Wilson tells Michael Noonan he has been contacted by parties interested in buying Nama’s Northern-related loans. Mr Noonan tells him to contact Nama directly.
September 2013: Brown Rudnick contacts Nama saying US fund manager Pimco is interested in buying the assets
November 2013: Cushnahan resigns from Nama Advisory Committee
December 2013: Nama puts Project Eagle on the open market and in January appoints Lazards as its agent.
March 2014: Pimco tells Nama it had agreed to pay Mr Cushnahan, and legal firms Tughans and Brown Rudnick a success fee. Pimco says it had set aside £15 million for this. It pulls out of the auction for Project Eagle. With Pimco’s withdrawal both Tughans and Brown Rudnick move to work on the bid from US investor Cerberus.
March 25th 2014: Cerberus chairman and former US vice-president Dan Quayle meets with North’s First Minister Peter Robinson, then Finance Minister Simon Hamilton and Ian Coulter, managing partner at Tughans.
April 2014: Cerberus is the successful bidder for Project Eagle, with a winning bid of €1.6 billion.
January 2015: Ian Coulter managing partner at Tughans resigns from the law firm
July 2nd: Independent TD Mick Wallace raises concerns in the Dail about the sale of Project Eagle and says £7 million in the Isle of Man account was “reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or political party”.
July 3rd: Tughans names Mr Coulter as the partner who left in a dispute over allegedly “diverted” fees linked to the Nama sale. The previous day the firm had said a former partner had “diverted to an account of which he was the sole beneficiary” professional fees due to the firm.
July 9th: PSNI launches a “criminal inquiry” into the allegations by Mr Wallace. The UK National Crime Agency is to take the lead role because of its experience in international investigations. Characterised as Britain’s FBI, it has a relationship with the Garda through Interpol, as well as with the US authorities.
July 10th: PAC hearing told that Pimco had agreed to pay Frank Cushnahan £5 million as part of a £15 million payout it was making to him and two legal firms, Tughans and Brown Rudnick.