Fomer Nama adviser rejects 'success fee' claim

Credit: Press Eye

A former Nama adviser has rejected allegations he was to receive a £5 million success fee connected to the sale of the Northern Ireland portfolio.

Frank Cushnahan, who worked with US investors Pimco, one of the final three investment firms in the bidding war for the deal referred to as Project Eagle, said: "It has been suggested in the event of the purchase of the loan book by Pimco I was to receive £5 million.

"I was never party to any such agreement."

The National Assets Management Agency (Nama) was established to deal with impaired loans that were damaging Irish banks after the 2008 financial crash.

Mr Cushnahan, who served on its Northern Ireland advisory committee between 2010 and 2013, made the comments in a statement issued through his lawyers to the Sunday Independent newspaper.

"At no time did I benefit financially from the sale of the loan book," he added.

"I have not made one penny from the transaction.

"At an earlier stage in the process Pimco expressed an interest in the purchase of the loan book. That did not proceed. At no time was I ever a paid adviser to Pimco.

"Had Pimco proceeded to purchase the loan book, my understanding was that there was the possibility that I could be appointed to them by an executive role with appropriate remuneration."

Mr Cushnahan has consistently denied any wrongdoing and said the stress of the past year had taken its toll on his family.

He added: "Words cannot described the devastating impact this controversy has had on my own and my wife's life and health.

"I have been treated like a criminal by sections of the media, although few criminals would have been subject to the same onslaught I have had to endure over the past year."

Last week, the Irish Government ordered a full inquiry into the controversial property deal after the Republic's spending watchdog found Nama lost up to £190 million when it sold to US investment fund Cerberus for £1.2 million in 2014.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) said Nama had undervalued loans associated with the 800 properties.

It also warned that alarm bells should have sounded after Pimco alerted Nama to a "success fee" payment of £15-16 million for three parties behind the scenes and pulled out of the process.

The controversial sale was first dogged by controversy after £7 million linked to it was found in an Isle of Man bank account.

The case is currently being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA), the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Securities and Exchange Commission and Gardai.