Builders bid to buy back NAMA assets

BAILED-OUT developers are trying to buy back their assets from NAMA at cut- rate prices, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned.

Mr Kenny expressed concern that some major property speculators who off-loaded their loans onto the taxpayer are attempting to get their land and buildings back at knockdown prices.

“I have had some indications of attempts to acquire property that was taken from developers through a variety of methods,” the Taoiseach said.

“I hope that NAMA are on top of that, and that where NAMA have acquired assets that they don’t find their way back to where they were acquired from in the first place.”

Mr Kenny said he would discuss the issue with Finance Minister Michael Noonan after he returns from a visit to the US later in the week.

The Taoiseach sounded the alarm about the practice of some developers using “strategies” to regain control of their property portfolios after addressing delegates at the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Cork.

He said he wants people to make offers to NAMA for seized properties so they can put as much of their assets as possible up for sale, so that a bottom could be reached for the market.

Mr Kenny’s warning echoes that of Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly, who claimed last week the state was losing hundreds of millions of euro because it was being saddled with huge loan values while the developers who borrowed the money re-bought their assets at a fraction of the original price.

Mr Daly also accused NAMA of not being transparent in their dealings and asked why no public auctions of NAMA property had been held.

Mr Daly also called for the Attorney General to appear before the Seanad regarding the matter.

He told the Seanad: “I have been informed by people involved in the industry that there is widespread corruption in this regard.

“People whose assets are in NAMA are now buying back their assets at below market value, which is hard to believe. The taxpayer is now losing not tens of millions of euro but hundreds of millions of euro because NAMA is not selling assets in the manner set down by the Oireachtas.”

The agency denied Mr Daly’s claims and said the senator produced no proof to substantiate his claims.

While NAMA did not respond to the Taoiseach’s suggestions yesterday, the comments will put pressure on NAMA chief Frank Daly to address the issue when he speaks before a meeting of north-south politicians today.

The Taoiseach also told yesterday’s gathering of Dáil deputies and British MPs that the Government was working on a loan guarantee scheme to get Ireland’s bailed-out banks lending again to small businesses.

But he declined to give a timeframe for the measures.

“Not everything can be achieved in the first 100 days of office but that is an important element of the programme for government and discussions are ongoing about how best to implement that,” he said.


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