Developer’s wife must give up €150k ring

Nama has set its sights on diamonds — rings, bracelets and necklaces.

The agency went to the High Court over an 8.38 carat diamond ring.

Nama has claimed the wife of well-known developer John McCabe is refusing to hand over the ring, a necklace and bracelet being sought by the agency towards satisfying judgments against her for more than €20m.

It believes the ring alone is worth over €150,000, based on the opinion of a jewellery valuer. But Mary McCabe had valued it, the bracelet and necklace collectively at €140,000, Rossa Fanning, counsel for Nama, told the Commercial Court.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday agreed to grant orders to Nama appointing a receiver over the three items of jewellery of Ms McCabe, of Rath Stud, Ashbourne, Co Meath.

When the judge asked barrister Alison Keirse, who was in court on another matter, how big was a 8.38 carat ring, Ms Keirse said she didn’t know as she had never owned a ring that size.

Making the application, Mr Fanning said Ms McCabe had refused to hand over the jewellery by Jan 18 as sought by his client and Nama was concerned, if it did not secure the orders sought, the jewellery may not remain in her possession.

A letter written to Nama by a son of Ms McCabe had alleged the agency was behaving unfairly in bringing court proceedings over this, but the position of Nama and the taxpayer could be prejudiced if this jewellery was sold, counsel said. Nama contended it was entitled to the jewellery to go towards discharging her substantial liabilities, he added.

Mr Justice Kelly said it was an unusual application but he was satisfied to make the orders sought. He noted two judgments for sums totalling more than €20m had been entered against Ms McCabe last year and she had failed to disclose the jewellery in her first statement of affairs, but did so in her second.

He also noted Nama contended the jewellery was worth substantially more than the €140,000 value ascribed by Ms McCabe.

He was satisfied it was reasonable to infer, unless the court interfered, the property may not be available to Nama as it should be and, in those circumstances, would appoint Jim Hamilton of BDO as receiver, the judge said. He granted various powers to Mr Hamilton, including to take possession of the jewellery and to retain a valuer to value it.

Last October, Mr McCabe was ordered to repay amounts totalling over €100m to Nama arising mainly from loans to companies in his building group and his personal guarantees of loans.

The agency also secured summary judgment orders in various sums against Ms McCabe and the couple’s children related to various loans and guarantees. The McCabes group of companies owe Nama more than €235m arising from a series of loans and guarantees, most of which were advanced by the former Anglo Irish Bank, now Irish Bank Resolution Corporation with others advanced by Bank of Ireland and AIB.

Nama says only a sum of €347,340 has been paid towards discharging the judgments obtained against Ms McCabe. That sum came from the proceeds of sale of a property at Park Lane, London.

McCabes was behind the so-called ‘millionaires’ row’ development at Abington in Malahide, Co Dublin. John McCabe Snr was also one of 10 customers of Anglo who each bought a 10% stake in the bank in the ‘Maple 10’ deal of 2008.

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