Nama has said there is no conflict of interests after a photograph emerged of one of its senior executives on a cycling holiday with Vita Cortex boss Jack Ronan.
Nama has seized several of Mr Ronan’s assets and is still in negotiations with him over the transfer of an unencumbered asset which could end the 54-day sit-in by 32 workers at the Vita Cortex plant in Cork.
The workers reacted angrily yesterday when a photograph emerged of Mr Ronan on holiday with Nama’s deputy head of portfolio management Michael Moriarty who oversees the agency’s lending and corporate finance teams.
In 2003, Mr Moriarty was the managing director of CB HOK Investors and set up syndicates and property deals on behalf of wealthy Irish clients.
The photograph of Mr Moriarty and Mr Ronan, who built up an extensive property portfolio, was taken on a cycling trip in South Africa in 2005.
In mid-2006 Mr Moriarty moved to Goodbody’s to syndicate property investment there, before joining Nama.
The Vita Cortex workers said they were “unsettled” by the apparent close links between the man who is refusing to pay them their redundancy, and a senior manager in the agency with which he is negotiating.
Last night, a spokesman for Nama confirmed that, before 2008, Mr Moriarty was on a number of overseas cycling trips in groups of about 10 people, which included Mr Ronan.
But he said: “Any suggestions of any inappropriate association or business dealings by Mr Moriarty with Jack Ronan are denied.”
“Since joining Nama, Michael Moriarty has provided a full disclosure statement and he has not been involved in any matter pertaining to Mr Ronan or his associates in line with Nama’s policy of avoiding potential conflicts of interest.”
“Any other business relationship which Jack Ronan may have had with HOK predated Mr Moriarty’s time there, but in any case had nothing to do with Mr Moriarty,” he said.
“Any personal business relationship which Jack Ronan may or may not have with Goodbody Stockbrokers predated Michael Moriarty joining that firm.”
Meanwhile, Siptu’s legal advisers are considering legal correspondence from solicitors for Mr Ronan which describes the Vita Cortex workers’ sit-in as an “illegal occupation”, and requesting they vacate the premises.
* Eleven workers last night staged a sit-in at Galway Airport amid fears they will not receive redundancy payments in the next few weeks due to the seizure of €1.1m from the airport’s account by Bank of Ireland.
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