Category Archives: Cerberus

26/7/15: It Rains, It Pours… And Next There Can Be a Deluge …over Nama

When it rains, it darn well pours… in the case of Nama and Irish Banking Inquiry, the rule is iron clad.

First, Nama:

Just yesterday I posted two links on most recent allegations concerning Nama in Northern Ireland. And today, we have a couple from the Republic.

Per first link, apparently, "A furious row has erupted between developer Michael O'Flynn and Nama following his appearance before the Banking Inquiry." The row is about Mr O'Flynn's claim that he was pressured to sell assets to 'preferred bidders' over the top bidders.

Nama says this is not true.

We have no idea as to who to believe, although Mr O'Flynn has nothing to gain from making up anything about Nama, given he has now existed the wretched institution and is free to return to normal life. And Mr O'Flynn appears to have more to say about Nama that seems to be pretty much in accord with what other Namaed developers are saying and what Nama seems to be denying as well. "Mr O'Flynn said while the O'Flynn Group had formulated a business plan for Nama aimed at repaying all the money it owed, this had been rejected without any discussion in relation to its content".

Which, of course, brings us back to that notion of value destruction that Nama should address before any inquiry into Nama attempts to address it.

Recall that Nama required all developers to submit Business Plans. Following their reviews by Nama, Nama issued simple 'decline' letters, requiring new plans to be re-submitted. Nama subsequently rejected a vast majority of these as well. So far - pretty bad, but it gets worse. Nama rejections came with zero specific details given as to the exact reasons for the agency decision. These plans were prepared by professional teams (not by developers personally) and contained very detailed pricings, costings, analysis etc of assets covered by the plans, based on external evaluations, existent permissions and ventures, and so on. Nama appears to have offered no substantive reasons for the rejections of substantive plans. In the case of O'Flynn the allegation is now on the record. In at least five other cases that I am familiar with  the same has been also alleged and in some formed part of submission to the courts.

The rejections of at least some plans led to Nama pursuing strategies for managing underlying assets that can be questioned in terms of their ability to deliver maximum value return to both the taxpayers and the original borrowers (Nama owes the latter the duty of care in relation to their assets). The shortfalls arising from Nama failure to execute reasonable plans was loaded, through personal guarantees, on the original borrowers. Which, effectively, means that for some reasons, undisclosed to anyone, Nama has opted to potentially dump vast amounts of risk and costs onto original borrowers. It would be damaging enough were this was done with at least a token of propriety in the form of explaining the rejection of the Business Plans. But it is doubly bad given that Nama seemed to have simply dismissed the Plans without any explanation.

The second link is more distant to Nama operations than the first, so I won't cover it in any detail here. Still do enjoy Indo's "Daly's charity role is 'private'". Hint: keep an eye out for familiar names...

No wonder the whole place at the higher reaches of the Grand Canal St is now resembling the flock of seagulls abandoned at sea by a fishing trawler: noise, feathers, chaos…

Stay tuned for the Banking Inquiry shambles post next.

25/7/15: Nama: Some Colder Winds from the North…

Ah, the Dear Nama, the outpost of taxpayers interests, the Beacon of the New Ireland (not to be confused with the financial company of the same name) reborn by the FF/GP/FG/LP efforts over the recent years, efforts yielding path-breaking reforms in transparency and governance that the Beacon exemplifies.

The shining light… that comes from the North and the South… right?…

- Newsletter story about the [some might say unhealthy] curiosity in Nama taken by some Ministers up North. There are [comfortably, for coach spectators down South] now familiar household names, as well as now expected whig of [pungent not] airs of something going on. But all to be revealed in some hearings that "NAMA has already said that it will not attend…" Nothing is confirmed, of course, so all questions to the Newsletter, please.

- And there is a blog posting something claimed to be documents with an enticing headline "Paddy Kearney released from Cerberus loan debt thanks to Robinsons ‘influence’ #NAMA". Probably about more hearings that Nama will not attend. But again peppered with the Northern names so familiarly comforting to the readers in the South. That said, as stated above, nothing is confirmed, so all questions to the Northern Irish folks, please.

Yes, yes… keep in mind, the rates of return are what matters in Nama relation to us all… rest… why, yes - a roadkill of bad publicity.

Meanwhile, talking of bad publicity [unrelated to Nama], Drummer is itching to give Brian Cowen a proverbial black eye: Which, of course, won't be allowed to happen, because the narrative of 'Bad Anglo, Good Public Servants' [including those very absent-minded and forgetful politicians... remember the horrible thing they did to Uncle Bert by dragging him into the spotlight of the Banking Inquiry? Good thing that went nowhere, fast...] must be maintained as the sole explanation for the bankrupting of the nation, done, of course, by Anglo… solely… alone… without anyone's help.

You can follow trail of Nama-related stories on the blog from here: or via search facility. Enjoy. And remember, there is nothing to worry about in any of this…

16/7/15: Nama: The Gift of Giving That Keeps on Giving…

While Greece is limping to its Bailout 3.0, our national heroes at Nama are busy fighting massive (California-sized) forest fires.

The Northern Ireland story (covered on this blog here) is refusing to go away:

  1. An academic legal eagle exposition from the U.S. It's in NYTimes, which is on the 'radar' of all our development agencies (the folks that do have Good Minister's ear to whisper into).
  2. And Irish News is covering the statement issued by Mr. Ian Coulter, the former managing partner of Belfast law firm Tughans. covers same with extra details. Same covered in the piece here.
  3. A good article from the Irish Times on Cerberus (the fund in the middle of Nama's Northern Ireland's case) and its use of Irish companies as vehicles for purchasing some EUR19 billion worth of assets. "Each of the Irish companies owns hundreds of millions, or in some cases billions, of euro in assets but has no employees in Ireland and in some instances, pays no corporation tax here. Cerberus has established at least 10 such companies in Ireland since it started its European property loan shopping spree in 2013, all of which appear to be owned by Promontoria, a Dutch fund that is 100 per cent owned by Cerberus Capital Management." 
  4. Another person in the middle of Norther Irish deal - Mr. Frank Cushnahan was, it appears, a 'serial director' in "over 30 companies" according to this article in the Irish Times. Which, obviously, qualified him to advise Nama.
  5. Deputy Mick Wallace went on to add to the story, claiming that Nama was aware of the suspicious aspects of transaction in the North, 'since January'. Nama categorically denied this.
  6. The UK National Crime Agency will investigate Deputy Wallace's claims.
Meanwhile, back at the foot of this mountain of proverbial... err... at home in Dublin, revelations that our Government appointments to Nama posts could have been... surprise-surprise... political. Who would have thought this much?

There is a documentary trail now to prove that Nama was a party to Government-related discussions about 'fixing' the land market in the Republic. In this, the State's objective of attempting to control the supply of land for development and improve saleability of assets is uncovered and Nama cooperation is identified. Nothing like manipulating the markets as a direct policy objective, folks. We had, of course, back in June this year, Deputy Mick Wallace's allegations that Nama has some unorthodox dealings with the rental sector in Ireland, allegedly "a “cartel” of big property owners had driven up rental costs in Dublin" as “A small group of players now control a large chunk of the rental market in Dublin"... He also said Nama likes to sell properties in big blocks “that only investment funds, vulture funds, mostly from America, have the money to be buying”.

A good old article from Bloomberg archives covering another Nama deal fiasco. The deal was a dodo: Morgan Stanley bought about 220 million pounds of loans to West Properties for "about 65 million pounds ($103 million), or a 70 percent discount". Nama does not sell properties to parties connected to original developers... you know...

And to top it all, we have a new load of revelations from Mick Wallace, TD on further fun-under-the-sun relating to the Holy Grail of Irish Solutions to Irish Problems: the claim made under "Dáil privilege, ... a person in construction who wanted to exit NAMA and was asked to pay €15,000 “in a bag – in cash.”

Wallace also referenced recently the Chicago Spire case (covered earlier here in my compendium of 10 worst deals on Nama's record). A quote: "I would like NAMA to explain its approach when a bidder went to buy not the loans but the debt of the Chicago Spire, which was at $78 million plus costs which brought it to approximately $93 million. An investor sought to buy the debt, and this was every penny that was owed to the bank. This was not the reduced value, but the par value. In other words, this investor was prepared to pay the debt in full but NAMA gave it to Jones Lang LaSalle in New York to sell. This was a site in Chicago. Even if NAMA thought it could get more for it, it was not in New York that it would have got it. It would have been interesting if it had marketed it in Chicago. Why could NAMA not accept the debt being bought out? It is estimated that it was sold for $35 million. NAMA refused $78 million, plus the cost, and it accepted a figure in the region of €35 million. That was claimed to be in the interests of the taxpayer."

It is worth repeating that Nama has denied any wrongdoing in any of the above cases and has now requested that Gardai investigate Deputy Wallace's claims. All other players in the Northern Ireland saga also denied allegations.

Of course, when it comes to Nama asking Gardai to investigate N. Irish deal allegations and denying any knowledge of wrongdoing, without putting their intent and their denial into question, one might recall that Nama is fully aware of another wrongdoing relating to IBRC interest rate overcharging (as detailed and documented here: But so far, Nama is in no rush to address the matter it has been notified about some ages ago (see details here: Lest we forget, NAMA was the biggest buyer of the IBRC loans to which the interest overcharging applied, and, it is alleged (see here:, this overcharging continued for loans transferred to Nama and still continues, despite the High Court Ruling of October 2014.

11/7/15: For Nama, Karma’s a generous bitch…

Refusing to go away... Nama story of Stg7 million 'set-aside' and Stg15 million fees demand off Pimco (notified by the fund to Nama and seemingly ignored by Nama, except to the point of not involving Pimco in subsequent sale) is now rolling into investigation stages in the UK and, potentially, the U.S.

Just because, as someone pointed out to me in poignant terms: Karma is a bitch... Well, it may be so, but so far, Nama is sitting pretty, with average salary for an employee in excess of EUR100,000 and golden handshakes for the departing employees averaging EUR34,000 and lavish pensions entitlements... Karma might be a bitch, but when it comes to Nama, it is a generous bitch at our expense...

You can follow back a list of my posts on Nama most recent controversies starting from here:

Update: FT covering the Nama story: Because Irish reputational capital yields have been too low of late...

6/7/15: More Nama and IBRC headlines

More interesting 'stuff' is seeping into the public domain from Nama and IBRC:

  1. Irish Times on PIMCO reporting to Nama an un-solicited approach " least one informal meeting took place at Stormont in late 2013 - thought to have involved Ian Coulter, Frank Cushnahan and a senior politician - with a view to Pimco acquiring Nama’s northern portfolio in its entirety". 
  2. A report in the Indo on John Flynn's letter concerning IBRC overcharging:

On the second story above, see the letter and the links posted here: and BankCheck report reprinted here: