Nama says O’Flynn claim’s against agency ‘risible’

Nama has hit back strongly at businessman Michael O’Flynn’s claim that it seeks to “demonise and destroy” major developers, branding the allegation “risible”.

In a combative response to evidence given to the Oireachtas banking probe by the Cork-based businessman, the agency insisted it was doing a difficult job for the benefit of taxpayers.

Nama expressed concern at Mr O’Flynn’s statement to the inquiry that the agency had an unpublished objective “to demonise and destroy developers of scale and that this at times overshadowed its statutory objective”.

Nama replied: “This contention is risible, not least given the considerable financial support that Nama has provided to debtors (large and small: including support to the O’Flynn Group over four years prior to the Project Tower loan sale).

“The fact that the majority of Nama debtor connections, 70% by value, continue to work consensually with Nama disproves emphatically Mr O’Flynn’s claims.”

The agency also expressed concern at Mr O’Flynn’s “negative” portrayal of Nama, and said the developer’s claim it was responsible for the shortage of residential property, was incorrect.

Nama also took issue with the businessman’s evidence the agency lacked experience in asset management.

The agency said Mr O’Flynn’s contention his business plan was dismissed without consideration was not supported by the facts.

The response also stated: “Mr O’Flynn’s contention that the O’Flynn Group was subject to pressure to sell a property in London to a bidder for a price lower than had been offered by another bidder is not supported by the facts.

Nama also said that it “refuted” Mr O’Flynn’s allegation that Nama’s CEO may have misled the Public Accounts Committee.

Nama also attacked allegations made by developer Johnny Ronan to the Oireachtas banking inquiry.

The agency insisted Mr Ronan had been treated “objectively, commercially and professionally”.

Asked to clarify evidence to the probe, ex-AIB chief executive Eugene Sheehy said the bank did not bring a draft bank guarantee to a Cabinet meeting on September 28, 2008. Ex-taoiseach Brian Cowen and former secretary general of the Department of Finance Kevin Cardiff had told the committee the banks had brought a document to the meeting.

“Mr O’Flynn stands over all of the evidence he gave to the banking inquiry, and he can fully back-up what he said with documentation,” a spokesperson for the developer said.

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