Monday, September 24, 2012

Wife of former Nama official facing lawsuit resigns post - The Irish Times - Fri, Sep 21, 2012

ALICE KRAMER, wife of the former Nama executive who is facing a criminal investigation for allegedly taking confidential information from the agency, has left her job at professional services firm, Ernst & Young.

The High Court heard last week that former Nama senior portfolio manager Enda Farrell e-mailed confidential documents to Ms Kramer before he left the agency in March to join private equity group, Forum Partners.

His action sparked investigations at Nama and at Ernst & Young, which carried out its own inquiry following a request from the State agency. The firm has completed its inquiry and passed the results to Nama.

It is understood Ms Kramer resigned from Ernst & Young within the last few days. She had a senior role in a division advising clients on compliance and other issues.

Ernst & Young has not commented beyond confirming that it carried out an investigation and passed its findings on to Nama.

The agency confirmed last week that it reported to the Garda that an internal investigation showed a former employee had taken confidential information without authorisation.

Nama said there was a possibility a criminal offence under section 202 of the Act that established the agency “may have been committed”. It also raised the issue with the Data Protection Commissioner.

The statement did not name Mr Farrell, but on the same day that Nama issued it, the agency brought proceedings against him and Ms Kramer to the High Court’s commercial division.

The issue came to light after it emerged the couple had bought a four-bedroom house and two acres of land at Sundays Well, Lucan, Co Dublin, from property dealer, Thomas Dowd, for €410,000, while Mr Farrell was still working for Nama.

Mr Dowd, a director of property investment firm Asvestus – which was originally controlled by Derek Quinlan – is a Nama client.

After learning of the deal last month, Nama suspected it may have breached its procedures and hired Deloitte to audit the purchase.

As a result, the agency learned confidential material may have been removed without its authorisation. The material included spreadsheets and other documents containing details of its largest clients.

It subsequently took in camera High Court proceedings against the couple, where it got a series of orders “directing the defendants to deliver up all documents, communications and materials which contain confidential information relating to Nama”.

It subsequently recovered data from the defendants’ computers and other storage devices and is now analysing that information.

The proceedings were moved to the Commercial Court last week and their in camera status was dropped at Nama’s request. The case is due back in court on October 4th.

Forum Partners hired Mr Farrell last March to head its Irish division. The fund, which manages $6 billion worth of assets, has reportedly begun to focus Europe’s distressed debt markets.

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