Nama used firms linked to Project Eagle
State agency paid Belfast solicitors Tughans €8,000 for working on the deal
Cerberus Capital Management’s purchase of Project Eagle loans from Nama last year for £1.2 billion is at the centre of a number of investigations. Photograph: Eric Luke
Nama hired two firms caught in the fallout from the controversial sale of its Project Eagle Northern Ireland loans to work on the deal itself, documents show.
US company Cerberus Capital Management’s purchase of Project Eagle loans last year for £1.2 billion is at the centre of a number of investigations over claims northern politicians and businessmen were to benefit from the deal. The firm denies any wrongdoing.
Documents sent by Nama to the Dáil Committee on Public Accounts show the agency paid Belfast solicitors Tughans €8,000 and accountancy firm RSM McClure Watters €36,000 for working on the deal. RSM McClure Watters’s managing partner, David Watters, originally developed the plan to sell what became Project Eagle and brought it to Nama Northern Ireland advisory committee member Frank Cushnahan who, in turn, recruited then-Tughans managing partner, Ian Coulter. The three agreed they should share a £15 million success fee should a deal go ahead.
Tughans subsequently advised Cerberus on its bid for the loans. Previously it worked for another US firm, Pimco, which left the Project Eagle auction in March 2014 after telling the agency it had agreed to pay “success fees” of £5 million each to Mr Cushnahan, US lawyers Brown Rudnick and Tughans.