herald

Wednesday 20 November 2019

NAMA storm over worker's cut-price deal

PRESSURE was mounting on NAMA today to refer a property deal involving one of its former executives to gardai.

Ex-NAMA employee Enda Farrell bought a house on the books of the toxic bank for €410,000 -- 70pc less than the €1.4m purchase price eight years ago.

Mr Farrell, who was with the agency when the deal went through, bought the house and two acres of land in Lucan directly from developer Thomas Dowd in a private deal last December.



Unacceptable

In a statement, Mr Farrell insisted he had sought permission from the State bank's head of compliance for general permission to buy a NAMA home.

However, he did not inform his employers he had purchased the property nor register the transaction with NAMA as required under legislation.

Fianna Fail's finance spokesman Michael McGrath said: "In my view, it is completely unacceptable for an employee of NAMA to be allowed to conduct a private purchase of a property in the NAMA portfolio in this manner."

He added: "It is clear that the compliance procedures within NAMA did not work in this case. This raises the question of how many other times such private purchases have occurred involving NAMA staff or persons connected to them."

The Cork South Central TD said: "I also believe that this particular case needs to be investigated by the gardai to establish if an offence has occurred."

Mr Farrell left NAMA in April to work for the UK-based Forum Partners, which is trying to buy property and land in distressed sales in Ireland. He has denied wrongdoing, saying he got permission to buy a NAMA property before approaching Mr Dowd privately.

NAMA has confirmed that auditors Deloitte are investigating the matter.

It said there is no evidence the property was bought below market value or that Mr Farrell played any part in authorising the deal in his role as an executive with the agency.



Renovate

Mr Farrell and his wife Alice Kramer bought Sundaywell in Lucan after having obtained planning permission to renovate the five-bedroom house.

Mr Farrell, in his 30s, denied using insider information to buy the house.

He pointed out that the fact the property was in NAMA was public knowledge and he also said the property was unoccupied and in bad condition so it was reasonable to assume it was for sale.

After he was approached by Mr Farrell, Mr Dowd got permission from NAMA to sell the land.

Mr Farrell said he was told as part of NAMA compliance that he could buy a residential property as a principal residence.

See Dan White, Page 14

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