Developer Garrett Kelleher sues NAMA loan-management off-shoot, alleging leak of confidential information

Developer Garrett Kelleher sues NAMA loan-management off-shoot, alleging leak of confidential information
Developer Garrett Kelleher

Developer Garrett Kelleher has sued a NAMA company over the alleged leaking and dissemination of his confidential financial information and that of his businesses to third parties.

The High Court heard today the businessman became suspicious that such information he gave to National Asset Loan Management Ltd (NALM) appeared in national newspapers and in 2011 when a bid was made for a loan he acquired to build the proposed Chicago Spire by the businessman and now US President Donald Trump.

The proposed €1.5bn development by Mr Kelleher's companies, which would have been one of the world's tallest buildings never proceeded.

Mr Kelleher alleges that confidential material, including a business plan for the Chicago project, was leaked by NALM to persons in the United States contained a valuation in respect loan from Anglo Irish Bank to develop the Chicago Spire project.

That loan was valued in August 2010 as being worth US$19.5m.

Mr Kelleher in a sworn statement to the court said his suspicion that his confidential financial information had been "widely leaked" was heightened by the fact that in September 2011 a bid of $20m for the Chicago Spire Project was made by the Trump organisation.

That claim is made as part of Mr Kelleher's damages action against NALM for an alleged breach of confidence and the deliberate, malicious disclosure of confidential information concerning himself and his companies known as the Shelbourne Group.

The claims are denied, and while NALM in its defence accepts there was an unlawful disclosure of information by former NAMA employee Enda Farrell, it is not liable for his actions.

A pre-trial motion in the case came before the High Court today when Jim O'Callaghan SC, with John Kerr Bl, for Mr Kelleher sought the discovery of certain documentation and records from NALM which the businessman says he needs to advance his claim.

Mr O'Callaghan said the defendant has refused to provide all the materials sought including communication records evidencing the release of confidential information.

Counsel said information evidencing the dissemination of any of his client's confidential information by Enda Farrell, who in 2016 received a two years suspended prison sentence for leaking sensitive data to two investment companies, is also being sought.

Farrell, of La Reine, Avenue Louise Brussels, Belgium and formerly of Dunboyne, Co Meath, pleaded guilty to eight counts of unlawfully disclosing information, in breach of the 2009 Nama Act, between May and July 2012.

While none of the charges against Farrell related to Mr Kelleher's affairs, the businessman wrote to the defendant in 2016 raising concerns that Mr Farrell may have leaked confidential information concerning his affairs.

He was initially told NALM had no knowledge of any leaks concerning his confidential information. Mr Kelleher after his bank loans were taken in to NAMA, co-operated with the NAMA company, and made a full disclosure of his assets, liabilities, business projects and plans to service the loans.

Counsel said that in November 2016 NALM informed his client that Mr Farrell had on dates in 2010, and 2012 disseminated information concerning Mr Kelleher to three entities QED Equity, Fidelity Worldwide Investment and Area Property Partners.

'Evasive and disingenuous'

This admission, counsel said, resulted in NALM amending its defence from a total denial of the claims to a position where it says it is not responsible for Farrell's actions.

Counsel said that Mr Kelleher believes NALM has been "evasive and disingenuous" in its dealings with him over the leaking of his confidential information.

Counsel said Mr Farrell had prepared a witness statement and had admitted in an interview with the Gardai that he had unlawfully given information to persons about Mr Kelleher's loans and the Chicago Spire.

However, Mr Farrell was not prosecuted in regards to his disclosures of Mr Kelleher's confidential information.

In reply Brian O'Moore SC, with Joe Jeffers Bl for NALM said the material sought by Mr Kelleher was unnecessary and too broad.

Counsel said it is disputed that some of the information concerning Mr Kelleher is confidential, and was in the public domain. In addition, counsel said that not all of the information was exclusively held by NALM.

Counsel also told the court that it had "pursued" Mr Farrell in the civil courts over his disclosure of information, fully co-operated with the Gardai in the criminal investigation, and it had informed Mr Kelleher about the breaches by Mr Farrell.

Counsel added that NALM has brought proceedings in Ireland seeking judgement of €46m from Mr Kelleher over guarantees on loans of some €350m provided by Anglo Irish Bank for projects in Ireland and the US.

Following the conclusion of submissions from both sides Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington said she was reserving judgment in the discovery application.

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