Garda investigate claims of Nama asset-sale rules breach

Parties connected to a defaulting debtor were allegedly involved in an illegal purchase

The Nama Act prohibits the agency from selling loans or property to a defaulting borrower, or connected parties  .Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The Nama Act prohibits the agency from selling loans or property to a defaulting borrower, or connected parties .Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

An Garda Síochána are investigating claims that parties connected to a defaulting National Asset Management Agency (Nama) debtor were involved in an illegal purchase of assets from the so-called bad bank.

Section 173(3) of the Nama Act 2009 prohibits the agency from selling loans or property to a defaulting borrower, or connected parties.

In a response this week to a parliamentary question from Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy, the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said State-owned Nama is aware that the Garda is investigating an alleged breach of the rule.

“Criminal investigations are a matter for An Garda Síochána and the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions] and, to date, their investigations have not resulted in a prosecution,” he said.

A Garda spokeswoman was not in a position to comment, while a spokesman for Nama declined to comment.

“I am advised that Nama has a policy of obtaining written confirmation from purchasers of Nama-secured assets which confirms that, among other things, the purchaser is not a party precluded from completing the purchase by virtue of Section 172(3) of the Nama act,” Mr Donohoe said.

The Minister added that the agency – which took over €72 billion of risky commercial property loans from five bailed-out lenders between 2010 and 2011 at an average discount of 58 per cent – examines these confirmations before a sales deal closes.

Separately, the Minister said that Nama had looked into another alleged contravention of the relevant section but was satisfied that no breach occurred.