Former Nama manager used 'insider knowledge' to help vulture fund, claims Mick Wallace

Opposition TD Mick Wallace has alleged a former Nama portfolio manager used "insider knowledge" to help a "vulture fund" he held a 30% stake in to buy An Garda Síochána's Dublin headquarters from the State body, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith Political Reporter.

The claim was last night strongly disputed by the firm involved, which said the allegations were "ill-informed, inaccurate and without foundation".

Speaking during the latest leaders questions debate yesterday, Independents4Change TD Mr Wallace told Taoiseach Enda Kenny he must open an investigation into the Nama claims.

Using Dáil privilege, the Wexford TD said he has been informed a "big player" in Nama was central to the sale of the gardai's Harcourt Street headquarters to investment fund Hibernia REIT.

Mr Wallace said the "vulture fund" was set up by a former Nama portfolio manager, and alleged this individual had moved his 30% shareholding in the firm to an offshore trust when he joined the State body.

Between 2009 and 2012, when he worked at Nama, the Wexford TD said this person used "insider knowledge" to help the company purchase a number of properties, including the controversial sale of the Harcourt Street garda site.

"The majority of people in Ireland think it [Nama] is rotten to the core," he said.

Former Nama manager used 'insider knowledge' to help vulture fund, claims Mick Wallace

In a statement last night, Hibernia REIT said the claims were "without foundation" and hit out at Mr Wallace's use of Dáil privilege to detail the situation.

"Hibernia REIT did not purchase Harcourt Square from Nama. Harcourt Square was sold by Nama to Starwood Capital in 2013, as part of a large portfolio of assets called Project Aspen.

"Hibernia acquired the property from Starwood Capital in February 2015," it said.

However, before the statement was released, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said any allegations should be brought to the immediate attention of the gardaí, adding: "A lot of rumour is going around, a lot of speculation, a lot of allegations."

In separate claims during the same Dáil debate, Mr Wallace also outlined "back handers" involving Nama deals.

He said it has been more than a year since he gave the name of an individual to gardaí who the TD claimed had handed over €15,000 in a bag to ensure favourable treatment from the property body, a position Mr Kenny said is a matter for the gardaí.

Mick Wallace TD
Mick Wallace TD


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