Monday, January 23, 2012

Nama denies supporting Quinlan’s plush lifestyle | Irish Examiner

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nama has said it is not contributing to the plush lifestyle of the stricken developer Dermot Quinlan.

The tax inspector turned development tycoon has seen his empire subjected to receivership proceedings by Nama and the agency has begun enforcement proceedings against him.

However, he has reportedly relocated to a €4,000-a-week home in a rich London neighbourhood and retained the trappings of wealth.

A Nama spokesman said the money Mr Quinlan was living on was not provided or sanctioned by the agency and it was not working with him.

"Clearly we have begun appointing receivers, we have begun enforcement proceedings and we are not supporting his lifestyle in any way," the spokesman said.

Mr Quinlan is not one of approximately 40 developers allowed draw down a salary from their business as they work with Nama to maximise the potential return.

In this respect, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said he will not direct Nama to lower the €200,000 salaries sanctioned for two of those developers as it would be "inappropriate".

Nama confirmed in recent months that it authorised salaries of €200,000 — the same as that of the taoiseach — for two developers whose loans are with the agency.

The average payment for the 40 developers is €75,000 a year.

Despite demands for the Government to intervene to lower the salaries, Mr Noonan has repeatedly made clear his reluctance to do so. Asked again about the issue by fellow Fine Gael TD Terence Flanagan, Mr Noonan said the salaries were a commercial decision taken by Nama and that it would be inappropriate for him to intervene.

"Both the chairman of Nama and I have separately explained on several occasions over the past few months that Nama decides whether or not to work with any particular debtor on the basis of what will generate the maximum return for the taxpayer," Mr Noonan said.

"Nama only works with developers where it considers that this will provide the best return to the taxpayer. Nama will continue to make its decisions on a case-by-case basis in line with its commercial mandate."

Mr Noonan said he understood from Nama that as part of the agency’s business plan agreements with debtors, it normally sought a reduction of 50% to 75% in overhead costs and that any salaries paid to debtors were from these reduced budgets.

Mr Noonan said: "Nama has been established as a fully commercial agency to operate under the direction of a board of directors. As long as Nama operates in accordance with statute, it would be inappropriate for me or my officials to attempt to interfere with the commercial decisions taken by the board.

"On the basis of the information received from Nama, I am satisfied that the agency is acting appropriately in this matter and seeking to protect taxpayers’ interests."

The developers in question have "multi-billion-euro portfolios", according to Nama, and the agency believes it is cheaper to the taxpayer to allow these individuals continue to manage the portfolios rather than hire outside asset managers.

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