Home > Uncategorized > FIRE SALE OF STATE ASSETS BY GOVERNMENT THROUGH FINANCE MINISTER NOONAN

FIRE SALE OF STATE ASSETS BY GOVERNMENT THROUGH FINANCE MINISTER NOONAN

Blog Initiated March 13, 2016


It Was Indeed a Fire-Sale But It Was Worse Than That! It Played A Huge part in Creating the Housing and Homelessness Catastrophy

Read two Articles from The Business Section of Sunday Business Post, Aug 13, 2017 below

Both Articles speak of huge “mistakes” by government. The Government actions were indeed the wrong thing to do. But it is clear that they were done knowingly and deliberately.

When FG-Lab authorised the sale of very many building sites to Vultures, they made no stipulation that houses should be built urgently or indeed at any time. -Paddy Healy

Ian Kehoe, Researcher for RTE Programme “The Great Irish Sell-Off”   SBP   Aug 13

“They(Vultures) are not developers. They are masters of speculative capital. They buy cheap, sweat the assets and move on to the next  distressed market. At the moment, the demand for houses is pushing up the value of their asset. So they are profiting from standing idly by.

NAMA Chief Executive, Brendan McDonagh, admitted as much in recent months when he linked the low level of residential development on sites sold by his agency to land hoarding.

McDonagh was asked at the Oireachtas Finance Committee if NAMA should have imposed stipulations on the buyers of portfolios requiring them to develop sites within a specific period.

He argued that this would have led to a discount on the price being achieved .”

It’s Time To Admit We Made Huge Mistakes With Vulture Funds

In the dying months of his tenure as finance minister, Michael Noonan was repeatedly questioned about the arrival of vulture funds in Ireland.

There was context to the questioning -90,000 mortgages and tens of billions of Euro in distressed property debts and business loans had been acquired by a handful of hedge funds and private equity giants at knock-down prices and most of the funds were unregulated and largely untaxed.

Noonan’s Policies, implemented by NAMA and IBRC , lit a fire that was without international comparison

Noonans replies to questioning missed the point.

The wholesale acquisition of debt by vulture funds will have generational consequences here, and it is only right to have a public debate about it.

I have long believed that the sell-off was too quick, too large and that Ireland was unprepared.

First, we saw the fact that many of the buyers of mortgages were unregulated and outside the scope of the Central Bank. Many have signed up to a code of conduct, while intermediaries are now regulated. The owners of the mortgages (vultures), however, remain unregulated

Second we saw it in the case of Tyrellstown, whereby a deal between a developer of an estate and Goldman Sachs resulted in eviction letters sent to 40 tenants. This exposed Irelands lack of rent security.

We have also seen it in terms of tax. As our RTE Programme “The Great Irish Sell-Off” revealed, 25 subsidiaries of vulture funds paid less than 18,000 euro in tax on assets of 20 billion Euro, with an estimated loss to the exchequer of 700 million euro.

There is another point here and it needs to be examined. Ireland’s Housing Calamity

Is affecting mobility, demography and the economy. We simply do not have enough houses. And, somehow, most of the prime development land is held by funds who do not build. These funds are not builders.

They are not developers. They are masters of speculative capital. They buy cheap, sweat the assets and move on to the next  distressed market. At the moment, the demand for houses is pushing up the value of their asset. So they are profiting from standing idly by.

NAMA Chief Executive, Brendan McDonagh, admitted as much in recent months when he linked the low level of residential development on sites sold by his agency to land hoarding.

McDonagh was asked at the Oireachtas Finance Committee if NAMA should have imposed stipulations on the buyers of portfolios requiring them to develop sites within a specific period.

He argued that this would have led to a discount on the price being achieved.

He is right about that.  But if NAMA had done it, Ireland might have a pipeline of houses that could help the homeless. Decisions have consequences. Decisions must be debated

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Massive Increase in Repossessions by Vulture Funds

Huge Mistakes With Vulture Funds-SBP Aug 13

Jack-Horgan Jones

How many times have the “vultures”resorted to the courts, looking to secure a judgement over a debtor?  There has been a very real explosion in this figure.  According to figures compiled by SBP, the share of the summary judgement application market accounted for by vulture fund activities has almost trebled. Last year they accounted for 10% of the total. This year that has rocketed to 27.4%.

The most aggressive funds, it seems, are those who have bought the largest debt. Most active are Goldman Sachs and CarVal, who between them have purchased billions of non-performing Irish debt. Goldman subsidiaries accounted for 105 actions since January 2016. CarVal far eclipses that at 183. Cabot accounts for125 actions in 2016 alone.

What is Driving this?

Colm Lyons is a British Barrister, Specialising in Transfer of Debt. He is not surprised by the increase in cases. He says: “what you are seeing is a pretty significant increase in the number of summary judgements being made. That is entirely to be expected because the word is that the vulture funds in Ireland are trying to get out and without losses. When a judgement is secured the funds can assign that judgement and the debt to someone else for a fee. It tidies up messy battles, and ease their passage out of Ireland.”

What jumps out a Lyons is the scale of the issue in Ireland. And how that might have knock-on affects for debtors.

He continues: “I’ve never seen a situation where an economy has been dictated by vulture funds. You had a government that didn’t that did not know what it was doing, went into a bank bail-out and bankrupted the country, and then it had to recover the situation. The only way that was ever going to happen was  a tripartite deal with banks and vulture funds

The root of this is a Faustian Pact (Deal with the Devil) made by the Enda Kenny government with funds. Faced with the consequences of the Cowen Governments stewardship, they jumped at the chance to offload debt to the funds via NAMA.”

The fallout, as funds crunch their way through the toxic debt they have bought, is being managed through the apparatus of the state-namely the courts and the receivership system.

Lyons continued: “If that’s going to happen, then the courts  become an arm of economic policy rather than independently determining the facts of any given case.

There did not seem to be an understanding of the legal, economic, social and political cnsequences of doing that.”

From a macro perspective, this is what is driving the rise in cases and a similar trend in receiverships.

Paul O’Grady, an Irish Barrister who represents debtors, shares the view that the funds are in a rush to the door. He says: “the vulture funds  have more than achieved their targeted returns in respect of the loan portfolios they bought. They have therefore put a deadline on the completion of their activities in Ireland, and are seeking to recover as much money as possible in as short a remaining time as possible”

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Ministers John Halligan, Finian McGrath MUST STOP AIB SHARE SALE BASED ON A PROMISE TO INCREASE EVICTIONS AND ZERO TAX ON BANK PROFITS FOR 30 Years!

AIB OWNED BY GOVERNMENT TELL PRIVATE INVESTORS THAT IT WILL SPEED UP EVICTIONS AND SALE OF MORTGAGES TO VULTURES LEADING TO FURTHER EVICTIONS

This Means That The Shares They Buy Now at Knock-Down Prices Will Rise!!!!

AIB plans to deal quickly with €8.6bn bad loans problem-Irish Times

Move may result in repossessions for those refusing to engage with bank

Joe Brennan  Irish Times,  01/06/2017

AIB will tell potential investors that its €8.6 billion bad loans problem will be mostly fixed within three years, as it prepares to float on the Dublin and London stock markets within the next month.

The bank’s move to decisively tackle its trickier cases may include the sale of some loans to overseas buyers of distressed debt and companies seeking to take part in the State’s expanded “mortgage-to-rent” scheme, executives at the bank signalled on Wednesday.

It may also result in a greater level of repossessions against borrowers who refuse to engage with the bank.

The Government decided on Tuesday evening to press ahead with the long-awaited sale of an initial 25 per cent stake in AIB, which it rescued during the financial crisis at a cost of €20.8 billion to the State. The share sale, which may raise up to €3 billion, is expected to conclude in the next four weeks.


After Minister Noonan introduced  Zero Tax on Bank Profits in Budget 2014 with the support of Labour Leader Joan Burton, Lecturer in Accountancy at DIT-

AIB WILL PAY NO TAX ON PROFITS FOR 30 YEARS AFTER  SHARE SALE, BROKERS TOLD

Crash  losses mean Deferred Tax Asset advantage may Extend until 2047

Samantha McGaughren Sunday Independent  04/06/2017

AIB will pay no tax on profits For up to 30 years due to the huge losses it racked up over the course of the financial crisis ,stockbrokers and market analysts have been told.

In presentations given in recent days, the bank described how its deferred tax asset(DTA) of €3bn gives it an advantage over many other listed banks. The DTA accounting practice allows companies to offset previous losses against future tax bills.

At one stage, there was cap on the amount of deferred tax assets(DTA) which could be used by the bank. A cap introduced in 2009 applied to banks which had transferred assets in to NAMA and restricted their use of deferred tax assets to just 50pc of their corporation tax bill every year.

However, in Budget 2014, Finance Minister Michael Noonan scrapped the cap.

(Paddy Healy: HERE IS How NOONAN “Slipped it in” To Budget 2014-But Joan Burton, then Labour Leader, is a Lecturer in Accountancy  !! She supported the Finance Bill which implemented the measure. But now that she is in opposition she disagrees with it!!!

Joan Burton on Nomination of Taoiseach  Dail Report June 14,2017

“As things stand, if the proposed sale of AIB goes ahead, that company could avoid paying any corporation tax for many years.”

Budget 2014 Minister Noonan Speech Extract fom Oireachtas Report Oct 15 2013
“Levy on Domestic Banks
The Government has decided that the banking sector should make an annual contribution of €150 million to the Exchequer for the period from 2014 to 2016. We will introduce the levy on the same basis as the one that yielded over €100 million each year from 2003 to 2005. The contribution from each institution will be broadly based on the amount of tax paid on deposit interest in 2011 and reflects the significant role played by the banking sector in the crisis.
Similar levies are in place in other EU member states including France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and full details about the measure will be set out in the Finance Bill. In addition, and to level the tax position of all banks, I am removing the restriction on the use of deferred tax assets for NAMA losses.”)

It was speculated at the time that AIB may not have to pay corporation tax for 20 years but in recent days, the bank’s representatives have told the investment community in pre-IPO presentations that the use of the DTA may extend out as far as 2O47.

Last week, Noonan launched the long-awaited €3bn sale of shares in AIB, which will see the bank return to the stock exchange almost seven years after it was nationalised.

The listing will result in the Government selling 25pc of the bank( which is almost entirely state-owned) The remaining

Shares worth around  €9bn, are expected to be sold off over time.

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Sunday Business Post   04/06/2017

Jack Horgan-Jones and Ian Guider

FEARS FOR HOMEOWNERS AS AIB BEGINS BAD LOAN CLEAR OUT

Potential Investors told to Expect Hike in Home Repossessions after 12 Bn Share Sale

Europe Threat to ground breaking Plan to save Mortgage Holders from Vultures

Commenting on the potential for more loan sales, an AIB spokesperson said that it “remains focussed on reducing impaired loans to a level more in line with European peers. We continue to review all options in relation to reducing impaired loans”.

The impact on borrowers of the state’s plan to sell a quarter of AIB is becoming apparent, with the bank set to ramp up loan sales and repossessions after it exits full state ownership. In addition a plan to save thousands of its mortgage holders from vulture funds hangs in the balance following an intervention for Europe.

Potential investors in the bank, who asked not to be named, said they have been told to expect an increase in repossessions as AIB gets to grips with the remaining level of non-performing loans on its books. The hardline stance is designed to woo potential backers of the flotation(share sale).

There will also be a string of loan sales, with the SUNDAY BUSINESS POST establishing that the bank is planning at least two major loan book sales, including a 1 Billion portfolio known as PROJECT REDWOOD.

 

 

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Noonan Now Sells OFF  25% of Profitable State-Owned ALLIED IRISH BANKS

Minister Noonan told Sean Whelan (RTE 30/05/2017) that state banks “dont work”. Private sector investment is needed. Otherwise there is political interference. “That is how you get bad banks”

Of Course it was refusal of the state to “interfere” with private banks by applying appropriate regulations that led to the Irish banking crash in the first place! Banking inquiry was told that Central Bank, ESRI, Department of Finance knew that the banks were in a mess, “but too many people were making money out of the property bubble for prudential action to be taken”-Tom O’Connell, Deputy Governor and Chief Economist at Central Bank to the  Banking Inquiry Commission

Ultra safe banks in Germany, Switzerland and France are state owned.

Portion of the now profitable AIB is being transferred to international investors. The associated profits will stream out of Ireland. The dividend to the Irish State-now well over 1 billion per year will be reduced!

Under the EU Fiscal Treaty, the proceeds of the sale cannot be used for current or capital expenditure including the building

Recently a majority of TDs voted in the Dáil to postpone the sale but the government has ignored the Dáil majority

At Least when Dermot McMurrough brought in the Normans, there was no Irish Nation to Betray!!!!

Noonan can only go ahead with the sale because, erstwhile left-wingers, Ministers Finian McGrath and John Halligan and the other Independent Alliance TDs agreed to it

Fianna Fáil could stop the sale by threatening to withdraw from supporting the government on key votes.

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SACK NOONAN!

FG-Labour through Noonan Gave Wilbur Ross and Prem WATSA a one way bet on Bank of Ireland Shares.  Government declared Bank of Ireland a “pillar bank”. That means the Bank could not be allowed to fail. Government shares were then sold to these investors in a fire sale. Now they have walked away with over 1 billon of the Irish people’s money, having sod on the shares

Prem Watsa €566m Bank of Ireland gain beats Wilbur Ross

Canadian investor among group that took part in  investment in bank in 2011

Joe Brennan Irish Times  19/04/2017

–Mr Ross sold his entire investment in Bank of Ireland – which had been acquired at 10c per share in 2011 – between March and June 2014 at prices between 28.4c and 32.8c, realising a €500 million profit in the process.

Mr Watsa and Mr Ross, who became US president Donald Trump’s commerce secretary in February, led a group of investors that took at 34.9 per cent stake in Bank of Ireland at the height of the financial crisis in 2011 for €1.1 billion. This helped the lender to avert joining the rest of the Irish banking sector under State control as their level of bad loans soared.

Question to Taoiseach—Will you sack Noonan?

Seamus Healy TD  If a person ran a sweet shop in the way Deputy Michael Noonan handles State investments, he or she would not be long in business. Will the Taoiseach sack the Minister for Finance who proposed this rip-off to the Cabinet – the rip-off of taxpayers and the people – in what was and is a fire sale?

The Taoiseach:   The answer to that question is “No.”

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Rent  and interest on 200 billion  in Assets is set to stream out of Ireland to Vulture Funds while FF-FG-Labour rule

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Damage Done by Fine Gael-Labour Fire Sale of Assets to International Vultures Comes Home to Roost as More Money Pours Out of Ireland

Shop Closures, Redundancies, Pay Freezes, Price Rises, Increased Parking Charges on the Way

Vulture Funds Turn the Screw on Retail Tenants in Shopping Centres–Michael Brennan, Sunday Business Post

Upward only rent reviews have been carried out by the new owners of Blanchardstown Shopping Centre-Us private equity giant Blackstone.

And increased rents are also being demanded at Dundrum Town Centre which was bought from NAMA  last yearby British property firm Hammerson and German insurance giant Allianz

” Most of the country’s main shopping centres  are owned by vulture funds and institutional landlords—

Other shopping centres which have been bought by vultures since the crash include Liffey Valley in Dublin,Whitewater in Kildare, Navan Town Centre in Meath, the Fairgreen retail complex in Mullingar, Dungarvan Shopping Centre in Co. Waterford, and Thurles Shopping Centre in Co Tipperary”—SB POST

 

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NAMA HAS FOREGONE 18 BILLION ALREADY TO VULTURES-Will Forego a Total of 40 Billion if Government Policy Continues  This is not an error. It is the direct result of deliberate Government Policy to Comply with the EU FISCAL TREATY while refusing to Tax the Massive ASSET GAINS OF THE IRISH SUPER-RICH

Report by Economist, Jim Power -quoted in Sunday Business Post 26/03/2017

“It is clear that NAMA’s fire sale of the nation’s property assets has allowed vulture funds to make a killing at the tax payers’ expense. The Agency would have fared better if it had  opted for  a medium to long term, commercially savvy approach over it’s knee-jerk panicked reaction…It would appear that Nama has been aiming to recover its initial investment of 31.8 billion and not the 74.2 billion of debt owed to the 5 main banks ,as was its original remit. As such in excess of 40 billion has been left behind by NAMA at the expense of the taxpayer.”

SB POST:  The report reveals how overseas funds have made spectacular returns “flipping” (immediately reselling) Irish property acquired from NAMA -with funds making average returns of 47 per cent on just 11 deals, yielding 317.6 million Euro in under 2 years 

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Kelly (Labour) Supports Noonan on Project Eagle

Irish Times 15/03/2017

“The committee considers it was not procedurally appropriate for the Minister for Finance to meet with senior Cerberus representatives on the day before the Project Eagle bid closing date.”

‘Procedurally appropriate’

The phrase “procedurally appropriate” is an interesting one. It is not a direct or personal criticism of the Minister, rather a pointing out of a flaw or shortcoming in procedures.

Even with that proviso, there is no doubt the finding stung the veteran Fine Gael Minister. The four Fine Gael members of the committee, as well as Labour’s Alan Kelly, adamantly opposed this conclusion, looking for the more minor “it was not procedurally advisable”. For the first time in its 94-year history, the proudly non-partisan PAC split along party lines and agreed the stronger conclusion on a split of 8-5.

Project Eagle: Loans totalling €6bn sold to US firm Cerberus for €1.43bn

 RTÉ’s television programme, The Great Irish Sell-Off, highlighted how vulture funds had acquired €200 billion of property assets and some 90,000 mortgages at knockdown prices and were paying little or no tax on the profits derived here.

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MICHAEL NOONAN SHOULD BE SACKED FOR PRESIDING OVER THESE LOSSES AS MINISTER FOR FINANCE

2016:Up to 24 vulture funds paid less than €20,000 in tax–Irish Times

2017:The Committee of Public Accounts will shortly report that €220 million was lost on the Project Eagle sale

and that it was not appropriate for the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, Department of Finance officials and NAMA to meet senior Cerberus representatives in the days prior to that sale. This is but the tip of the iceberg. Massive Irish assets are being sold off at knock down prices to the Government’s international financial friends. People in need of health care are being criminally neglected and hundreds are dying needlessly according to our medical consultants.

Noonan lost the State 2.7billion in  Premature Sale of Bank of Ireland Shares

2013:In July 2011, that “financial wizard” Michael Noonan sold 1.123 Billion of government shares in Bank of Ireland to Wilbur Ross and a North American Consortium. Now the shares are worth 3.8 billion. Wilbur thinks Michel Noonan and Richie Boucher are marvellous!! The reason the shares rose is that investors have been assured by Michael that BoI is a pillar bank. Recently Michael saved Wilbur and the mainly private owners of BoI a further 325m at the expense of the state when he voluntarily sold 1.3 billion in preference shares which the bank couldn’t redeem to a third party.-SeamusHealyTD in Dáil

Seen & Heard: Denis O’Brien makes €22m in Blue Ocean break-up; ComReg wants to increase fines

Billionaire Denis O’Brien made more than €22 million from the break-up of Blue Ocean Associates, according to The Sunday Times.

The scale and scope of tax avoidance by vulture funds, reports the Sunday Business Post, is now becoming apparent with new data showing 24 Irish subsidiaries paid less than €20,000 of corporation tax in total despite controlling distressed property assets of almost €20 billion.

According to the Post, these 24 companies and their subsidiaries will be able to make a profit of between 33 per cent and 50 per cent of their initial investment.

The Post also reports that the IDA will have to disclose the details of payments it makes to international companies to set up in Ireland, potentially paving the way for other countries to lure jobs away from the State.

Under European Union transparency laws, the agency will have to provide the names of companies that receive grants , how much the individual payments total and what they are for.

Blue Ocean breakup nets €22m for O’Brien

The Sunday Times reports that billionaire Denis O’Brien made more than €22 million from the break-up of Blue Ocean Associates, a UK fuel group he bought in a 2012 deal that involved a €64 million debt writedown from IBRC.

Figures show that Blue Ocean paid €28.2 million in dividends to an Isle of Man parent company last year after selling of all its assets. The parent company, Osmunda, is 67 per cent owned by Mr O’Brien.

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Healy Calls for Dismissal of Noonan as Governments helps Vulture Capitalists walk away with 2.7 Billion of Irish Money

Question To The Taoiseach. Deputy Seamus Healy:   The Taoiseach’s and the Government’s ideological commitment to private banking has ripped off the taxpayer and the people. The value of Wilbur Ross’s and his North American vulture capitalist friends’ shares in Bank of Ireland has more than trebled, from €1.1 billion to €3.8 billion. They are now selling 6.75% of Bank of Ireland for €690 million, at a huge profit, while retaining 30%. I raised this issue during Leaders’ Questions on 7 November 2013 when I said:

In April 2013, on Bloomberg television, Wilbur Ross, the American vulture capitalist, described Bank of Ireland as his best investment anywhere in the world during the financial crisis. In July 2011 the Government sold State shares in Bank of Ireland to a consortium of North American vulture capitalists for €1.123 billion. The effect of the sale is that the State now owns 15% of Bank of Ireland’s shares at a net cost of €4 billion, while these vulture capitalists own 37% at a cost of €1.123 billion. The fire sale of Bank of Ireland shares has handed Wilbur Ross and his wealthy associates a capital gain of €2 billion. No wonder he was celebrating on television. They are onto a sure winner in the future.

This is all too true. Not alone had the people bailed out Bank of Ireland, the Government had guaranteed the shares would rise by designating Bank of Ireland a pillar bank. It made no sense. Now in the media Wilbur Ross is lavishing praise on Richie Boucher and the Government. Why would he not? With no risk, he and his partners trebled their investment. Will the Taoiseach tell the people the truth? Will he tell them that while they were being fleeced in budget after budget, owing to the Taoiseach’s ideological commitment to the privatisation of banking, he has cost them €2.7 billion which has gone straight into the pockets of Wilbur Ross and his North American friends. If a person ran a sweet shop in the way Deputy Michael Noonan handles State investments, he or she would not be long in business. Will the Taoiseach sack the Minister for Finance who proposed this rip-off to the Cabinet – the rip-off of taxpayers and the people – in what was and is a fire sale?

The Taoiseach:   The answer to that question is “No.” I was not sure whether the Deputy was going to propose that Anglo Irish should have been made a pillar bank, if one was to follow through on his dissertation. There are two things he should bear in mind. First, the fact that Mr. Ross invested in Bank of Ireland meant there was less of a capitalisation requirement for the taxpayer. Second, there will be no legacy debt attached. When the Minister for Finance brings his memo to the Government with a recommendation to dispose of the State’s element of ownership of Bank of Ireland, the taxpayer will make a profit. Therefore, the taxpayer was saved from further capitalisation of Bank of Ireland and when the Government decides to dispose of its shares, the taxpayer will make a profit. I am no fan of banks. As the Deputy is well aware, what has happened from the point of view of the Government is that it has put in place a set of targets and requirements for banks and the Central Bank: to offer every mortgage holder in distress a sustainable offer by the end of the year; establish the Personal Insolvency Agency; meet the requirement for SME lending; and provide the opportunity to open doors for greater access to credit in order that people can do business and create jobs.

The answer to the Deputy’s question is that the Minister for Finance will not be sacked; the taxpayer will make a profit on the disposal of the shares we own in Bank of Ireland.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   I thank the Taoiseach for his response, but, once again, we have heard the usual smoke and mirrors blather. The fact is that the Government’s ideological commitment to private banking has gone even further. As bad as the Wilbur Ross affair was, the taxpayer has been ripped off again, as recently as December 2013. This happened when Bank of Ireland was unable to call or buy all of the preference shares held by the Government. On that occasion the Government voluntarily sold the excess shares to a third party at a knockdown price to facilitate the bank. The Government rushed deliberately to complete that sale before 31 March 2014, when those shares will be worth an additional €325 million. In addition, the whole operation meant the State’s share in the bank was reduced by another €100 million. The Government, therefore, lost €425 million in the deal. How can the Taoiseach continue to support a Minister for Finance who has stood over such a rotten and shameful deal for the taxpayer?

The Taoiseach:   As I pointed out, we cannot have a functioning economy without functioning banks. When the Government was elected to office, we had a banking system which was completely dysfunctional, had gone off the rails and required radical restructuring. This happened with the putting in place of the pillar bank system.

The Deputy asked if the Minister for Finance would be sacked. The answer to that question is “No.” We have a duty to the Irish taxpayer to see—–

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The Taoiseach is standing over that.

The Taoiseach:   —–that money paid into banks can be recovered to the greatest extent possible given the catastrophic economic mess left by those who went before us.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   Shame.

Fianna Fáil Protect Noonan from EFFECTIVE SCRUTINY ON NAMA FIRESALE

Mr Fleming said he would like to assure Mr Noonan that he will be questioned strictly in connection with the sale process, saying the questioning will be strictly kept to the mechanics of the sale process and the minister’s involvement in it.

Mr Fleming said: “He is one of the links in the chain in relation to this sale process.

“He was involved in correspondence personally; he was involved in personal phone calls on the matter.

“I do want to assure the minister, and I as chairman of the PAC know fully the remit of the committee, we will not be straying into governmental decisions; policy issues by the department.

“We will keep it strictly to the mechanics of the sale process and the involvement of the minister in the sale process,” he added.

Later, he told RTÉ News that questions seeking to establish if there was any Government policy to encourage NAMA to accelerate sales of its loan portfolio, and what impact that might have had on the controversial Project Eagle deal at the centre of controversy, would have to be addressed by a Commission of Inquiry and not by the PAC.

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Ronnie Hanna,now out on bail, who was named in the ‘Spotlight’ probe, was the former head of Nama’s Asset Management in Dublin Headquarters, writes Niamh Horan

This weekend, a source close to the BBC Spotlight investigation told the Sunday Independent: “The team are still quietly plugging away. This is only the tip of the iceberg. There will be more to come.”

PUBLISHED Sunday Independent 18/09/2016 | 02:30

Businessman Frank Cushnahan is the name on everyone’s lips this weekend after he was secretly recorded accepting a £40,000 cash payment from a Nama borrower. 

But the bombshell footage, reported by BBC’s Spotlight programme, has thrown another man into the centre of controversy: former head of Nama’s asset management, Ronnie Hanna.

In the video, Mr Cushnahan alleged he had influence over Mr Hanna and suggested that he would have Mr Hanna’s assistance in getting the developer’s loans out of Nama in return for a fee. “Ronnie and I are thick as thieves,” he told the property developer.

In March of this year, both Mr Hanna and Mr Cushnahan were arrested on allegations of fraud by the National Crime Agency (NCA), which is investigating Nama’s £1.2bn sale of its Northern Ireland property portfolio to US firm Cerberus, and released on bail. Mr Hanna, like Mr Cushnahan, has strenuously denied any wrongdoing, but if Mr Cushnahan’s secretly recorded claims are true, it brings the scandal to the heart of Nama’s headquarters in Dublin.

Excerpts from Full Article Below

A source close to the BBC investigation told the Sunday Independent that both Mr Hanna and Mr Cushnahan were “very influential and big powerful players in Northern Ireland business and banking circles” and “go back over many years.”

In 2010, Mr Hanna’s career change from Ulster Bank to Nama raised eyebrows among lifelong friends. As a source explained: “We were all very surprised – it was a very leftfield move.”

Mr Hanna immediately became central to Nama’s operations in Dublin. He reportedly had the power of ‘life or death’ over developers.—-

Two months later, Mr Ronan’s chief legal counsel, Mr Williams, wrote on Mr Ronan’s behalf to Finance Minister Michael Noonan. In the letter dated September 6, 2012, he outlined the sequence of events leading to the collapse of Treasury Holdings and raised grave concerns regarding Nama’s actions to that point.

Nama was accused of losing a vast amount of money for Irish taxpayers through the sale of the jewel in Treasury’s assets: London’s iconic Battersea Power Station, which the agency sold for €600m but is now expected to generate profits of up €10bn.——

In recent months it has emerged that, on March 31 2014, Mr Hanna met John Snow, the head of Cerberus, the day before the US fund bid to buy the loans, worth £4.5bn. Three days later, Cerberus bid just £1.2bn for the loans, which was accepted by Nama. Six months later, Mr Hanna unexpectedly left the agency.

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Main Article Continued

 

So who is Ronnie Hanna- and how much power did he wield over Irish property developers and their assets?

A graduate of Belfast’s Queen’s university, Mr Hanna (57) worked for 30 years in Ulster Bank, Belfast. He was said to have been “well thought of by senior bankers” and quickly moved into the world of credit when the crash hit in 2008, eventually working his way up to Head of Global Restructuring at the bank.

Friends of Mr Hanna describe him as a typical “Northern Protestant”.

He was seen as “one of the pillars of society” in the North. A source close to the BBC investigation told the Sunday Independent that both Mr Hanna and Mr Cushnahan were “very influential and big powerful players in Northern Ireland business and banking circles” and “go back over many years.”

In 2010, Mr Hanna’s career change from Ulster Bank to Nama raised eyebrows among lifelong friends. As a source explained: “We were all very surprised – it was a very leftfield move.”

Mr Hanna immediately became central to Nama’s operations in Dublin. He reportedly had the power of ‘life or death’ over developers.

He has overseen the sale of assets belonging to Ireland’s biggest property developers including Derek Quinlan, Treasury Holdings’ Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett, Michael O’Flynn, Harry Crosbie and Joe O’Reilly.

They were among some of the biggest losers when Nama set off with seeming abandon in selling off what effectively were Ireland’s crown jewels – London assets such as Battersea Power Station, the Knightsbridge Estate, and a major stake in the world famous Claridge’s, Berkeley and Connaught hotels – for knockdown prices to vulture funds and other international investors.

The decision to take out Treasury Holdings in particular raised serious questions about Nama’s conduct.

In 2012, when Treasury appealed the decision against Nama bosses who had called in their loans, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan ruled in favour of Nama – and Treasury Holdings lost on a ‘technicality’.

However, in her written summary, Ms Justice Geoghegan was highly critical of Nama. In a public indictment of the agency, she found it acted unfairly and unreasonably against the developers because it did not fulfil its obligation to give a fair hearing to proposals which could have saved the company.

Two months later, Mr Ronan’s chief legal counsel, Mr Williams, wrote on Mr Ronan’s behalf to Finance Minister Michael Noonan. In the letter dated September 6, 2012, he outlined the sequence of events leading to the collapse of Treasury Holdings and raised grave concerns regarding Nama’s actions to that point.

Nama was accused of losing a vast amount of money for Irish taxpayers through the sale of the jewel in Treasury’s assets: London’s iconic Battersea Power Station, which the agency sold for €600m but is now expected to generate profits of up €10bn.

Meanwhile, this weekend one developer who has not yet exited Nama- and who has worked with Mr Hanna- described him as “very, very tough” and “abrupt”.

He said: “He had the power to make or break any of us.”

A friend who would sometimes meet Mr Hanna socially during his time working with Nama said: “He was definitely an outsider in Dublin so he could disassociate from developers when he had to make decisions and I know that made his work easier for him.”

The friend, who would drink socially with Mr Hanna, described him as “lonely” in Dublin, adding: “He would get the train down early on a Monday morning and come back up here to Belfast late on a Friday evening. He seemed under a lot of stress during his time with Nama. You could see it in his face.

“He aged hugely in the few years he was in Dublin and he didn’t look great. He looked absolutely wrecked when I met him.”

He went on: “I do know there was huge political pressure and Nama had to produce and deliver quickly and that’s why very, very fast decisions were made. He was in a tough place. The atmosphere inside was very politically sensitive. Some developers appeared to have no chance to survive. People wanted blood and that was it. Politicians wanted results quickly.”

Speaking about learning that his friend was embroiled in the Project Eagle controversy, the source said: “We were all shocked. I don’t think he was the type of man who could do such a thing. I hope there will be an investigation to figure out what the hell happened. There is something definitely amiss [with the Nama controversy], things don’t add up.”

In recent months it has emerged that, on March 31 2014, Mr Hanna met John Snow, the head of Cerberus, the day before the US fund bid to buy the loans, worth £4.5bn. Three days later, Cerberus bid just £1.2bn for the loans, which was accepted by Nama. Six months later, Mr Hanna unexpectedly left the agency.

Under Dail privilege, Independent TD Mick Wallace said Mr Hanna “was part of a cabal to seek payment for effecting the biggest property deal in the history of the State”.

In March of this year both Mr Hanna and Mr Cushnahan were arrested by police, who seized documents and computers during raids on properties in Belfast. Nama belatedly lodged a complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission in relation to its Northern-based former adviser Frank Cushnahan. When asked why Nama hasn’t also lodged a complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission in relation to its southern-based former adviser, Ronnie Hanna, a spokesperson for Nama refused to comment.

This weekend, commentators have suggested that Nama is trying to keep the controversy north of the border, for fear of it spilling into its dealings in its Dublin office.

Deputy Mick Wallace claimed that there is a “strong reluctance” to deal with the controversy due to” the fear that allowing a few cracks to develop could lead to the collapse of the Nama edifice.”

This weekend, a source close to the BBC Spotlight investigation told the Sunday Independent: “The team are still quietly plugging away. This is only the tip of the iceberg. There will be more to come.”

Sunday Independent

 

Will Shane Ross, John Halligan, Finian McGrath Protect Noonan and NAMA From INVESTIGATION??

NOONAN WILL NOT APPEAR BEFORE THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ON NAMA FIRE-SALE—-MINISTER VERADKAR ON THE WEEK IN POLITICS ON RTE

GOVERNMENT  WANTS TO CONFINE STATUTORY INQUIRY INTO NAMA TO PROJECT EAGLE-VERADKAR

——————————-

NOONAN PRESSURISED NAMA TO SELL OFF ASSETS QUICKLY THOUGH PROPERTY PRICES WERE RISING COSTING THE STATE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS

“This is confirmed by people with knowledge of the agency’s dealings. In his letter to the Minister for Finance decrying the C&AG report, Nama chairman Frank Daly pointedly remindedMichael Noonan that it was operating on his instructions when it accelerated the sale of its loan book.

Daly reminded Noonan this approach was “endorsed by you” during the agency’s 2014 review, when it adopted the target of 80 per cent of senior debt (a cumulative total of €24 billion) by the end of 2016.-Irish Times 15/09/2016

“As you know this ambitious target, which has not alone been achieved but exceeded some nine months ahead of schedule, could not have been attained without the sale of some large loan portfolios at market value,” Daly reminded the Minister.

This sounds a lot like: hold on, pal – this was your idea all along.

There is some truth to it. Noonan had long been of the view, even before he became Minister for Finance, that Nama needed to accelerate loan disposals, to “put a floor” on the market, to get things moving. This process necessarily required offloading properties which would subsequently rise in value. That is what happens in a rising market.-Irish Times 15/09/2016

———————————————–

Kenny, Noonan and Labour Ministers  Gave Away Billions in Bank of Ireland Shares

Wilbur Ross Celebrates Huge Windfall Gain in BoI Shares on Bloomberg TD

Kenny Refused Call of Seamus Healy TD to Sack Noonan

“The answer to the Deputy’s question is that the Minister for Finance will not be sacked”

Seamus Healy TD – Leaders Questions 05 March 2014    Watch and Listen

WUAGWordpress   http://wp.me/p1Uvd5-z3

Statement Seamus Healy TD   March 2014

In the course of his speech on the Governments Economic Plan , Seamus Healy TD called on the Taoiseach to Correct the Dail Record  on  the disastrous sale of shares in BoI which he totally misrepresented to the Dail yesterday.  READ Full Dail Record BELOW   

He said:

In July 2011, that “financial wizard” Michael Noonan sold 1.123 Billion of government shares in Bank of Ireland to Wilbur Ross and a North American Consortium. Now the shares are worth 3.8 billion. Wilbur thinks Michel Noonan and Richie Boucher are marvellous!! The reason the shares rose is that investors have been assured by Michael that BoI is a pillar bank. Recently Michael saved Wilbur and the mainly private owners of BoI a further 325m at the expense of the state when he voluntarily sold 1.3 billion in preference shares which the bank couldn’t redeem to a third party.

Yesterday the Taoiseach said in answer to me at Leaders Questions Mr Ross’ investment in Bank of Ireland meant there was less of a capitalisation requirement for the taxpayer.” This is totally untrue. The sale of 1.123 billion in state shares had no effect on capitalisation.  It merely meant that 1.123 billion of state shares was replaced by 1.123 billion of shares held by the north American consortium of vulture capitalists.  I call on the Taoiseach to correct the record of the house. It is a disservice to democracy if a Taoiseach can tell a blatant untruth to the house to cover up the fact that Wilbur Ross and associates walked away with 2.7 billion euro in Irish Peoples money because of the ideological position of the government

 

Healy Calls for Dismissal of Noonan as Governments helps Vulture Capitalists walk away with 2.7 Billion of Irish Money

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The Taoiseach’s and the Government’s ideological commitment to private banking has ripped off the taxpayer and the people. The value of Wilbur Ross’s and his North American vulture capitalist friends’ shares in Bank of Ireland has more than trebled, from €1.1 billion to €3.8 billion. They are now selling 6.75% of Bank of Ireland for €690 million, at a huge profit, while retaining 30%. I raised this issue during Leaders’ Questions on 7 November 2013 when I said:

In April 2013, on Bloomberg television, Wilbur Ross, the American vulture capitalist, described Bank of Ireland as his best investment anywhere in the world during the financial crisis. In July 2011 the Government sold State shares in Bank of Ireland to a consortium of North American vulture capitalists for €1.123 billion. The effect of the sale is that the State now owns 15% of Bank of Ireland’s shares at a net cost of €4 billion, while these vulture capitalists own 37% at a cost of €1.123 billion. The fire sale of Bank of Ireland shares has handed Wilbur Ross and his wealthy associates a capital gain of €2 billion. No wonder he was celebrating on television. They are onto a sure winner in the future.

This is all too true. Not alone had the people bailed out Bank of Ireland, the Government had guaranteed the shares would rise by designating Bank of Ireland a pillar bank. It made no sense. Now in the media Wilbur Ross is lavishing praise on Richie Boucher and the Government. Why would he not? With no risk, he and his partners trebled their investment. Will the Taoiseach tell the people the truth? Will he tell them that while they were being fleeced in budget after budget, owing to the Taoiseach’s ideological commitment to the privatisation of banking, he has cost them €2.7 billion which has gone straight into the pockets of Wilbur Ross and his North American friends. If a person ran a sweet shop in the way Deputy Michael Noonan handles State investments, he or she would not be long in business. Will the Taoiseach sack the Minister for Finance who proposed this rip-off to the Cabinet – the rip-off of taxpayers and the people – in what was and is a fire sale?

The Taoiseach:   The answer to that question is “No.” I was not sure whether the Deputy was going to propose that Anglo Irish should have been made a pillar bank, if one was to follow through on his dissertation. There are two things he should bear in mind. First, the fact that Mr. Ross invested in Bank of Ireland meant there was less of a capitalisation requirement for the taxpayer. Second, there will be no legacy debt attached. When the Minister for Finance brings his memo to the Government with a recommendation to dispose of the State’s element of ownership of Bank of Ireland, the taxpayer will make a profit. Therefore, the taxpayer was saved from further capitalisation of Bank of Ireland and when the Government decides to dispose of its shares, the taxpayer will make a profit. I am no fan of banks. As the Deputy is well aware, what has happened from the point of view of the Government is that it has put in place a set of targets and requirements for banks and the Central Bank: to offer every mortgage holder in distress a sustainable offer by the end of the year; establish the Personal Insolvency Agency; meet the requirement for SME lending; and provide the opportunity to open doors for greater access to credit in order that people can do business and create jobs.

The answer to the Deputy’s question is that the Minister for Finance will not be sacked; the taxpayer will make a profit on the disposal of the shares we own in Bank of Ireland.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   I thank the Taoiseach for his response, but, once again, we have heard the usual smoke and mirrors blather. The fact is that the Government’s ideological commitment to private banking has gone even further. As bad as the Wilbur Ross affair was, the taxpayer has been ripped off again, as recently as December 2013. This happened when Bank of Ireland was unable to call or buy all of the preference shares held by the Government. On that occasion the Government voluntarily sold the excess shares to a third party at a knockdown price to facilitate the bank. The Government rushed deliberately to complete that sale before 31 March 2014, when those shares will be worth an additional €325 million. In addition, the whole operation meant the State’s share in the bank was reduced by another €100 million. The Government, therefore, lost €425 million in the deal. How can the Taoiseach continue to support a Minister for Finance who has stood over such a rotten and shameful deal for the taxpayer?

The Taoiseach:   As I pointed out, we cannot have a functioning economy without functioning banks. When the Government was elected to office, we had a banking system which was completely dysfunctional, had gone off the rails and required radical restructuring. This happened with the putting in place of the pillar bank system.

The Deputy asked if the Minister for Finance would be sacked. The answer to that question is “No.” We have a duty to the Irish taxpayer to see—–

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The Taoiseach is standing over that.

The Taoiseach:   —–that money paid into banks can be recovered to the greatest extent possible given the catastrophic economic mess left by those who went before us.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   Shame.

The Taoiseach:   In the case of Bank of Ireland the fact that Mr. Ross invested in the bank meant that the Irish taxpayer had to put less money into the bank than it might have had to do.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   When did the Taoiseach sell shares for €425 million?

The Taoiseach:   When the State, on the recommendation of the Minister for Finance, decides to dispose of its equity there the taxpayer will make a profit. That is our commitment, our duty and responsibility to the Irish taxpayers not to leave them at a loss, given the scale of what was inherited here.

Deputy Willie O’Dea:   It was €3 billion less than the Taoiseach would have paid.

STORMONT CRITICISES NOONAN JUDGEMENT IN PROCEEDING WITH SALE

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/stormont-criticises-noonans-judgment-in-going-ahead-with-16bn-nama-sale-34527429.html?

NOONAN NOT ABLE TO HALT PROJECT EAGLE SAYS DEPARTMENT-Irish Times

http://www.irishtimes.com/business/commercial-property/noonan-not-able-to-halt-project-eagle-sale-says-department-1.2569898#.VuPBx20tcuk.mailto

Newspaper commentators seem to have forgotten that the FG-Lab Government ,through Finance Minister Michael Noonan,sold risk free shares in Bank of Ireland “Pillar Bank”(Cant Fail!)  to Wilbur Ross in 2011

3 years later Wilbur had walked off with a total profit of 500m Euro by selling on the shares!

An official who worked on the sale project in Dep of Finance was appointed to a senior position in BoI whose board was joined by Wilbur Ross! (Following an appeal to the Ceann Comhairle by Seamus Healy TD, Noonan was forced to confirm this in PQ Reply to Seamus Healy TD)

Seamus Healy TD asked Taoiseach Kenny at Leaders Questions in the Dail to sack  Noonan following this  but Kenny refused and defended Noonan

Noonan also authorised the transfer of 1.2 Billion in state owned shares in AIB into the AIB pension fund owned by contributors and pensioners. As a result senior people who wrecked the bank retained huge pensions though small share holders had lost their life savings

Nama was allowed to sell assets worth over 6 billion to vulture fund Cerebus for less than 2 billion Euro

The sale of Nama properties in NI for a song to a single remaining bidder is nothing new.

The Cushnahan affair, though important, is small change

Noonan and Nama refused to appear before the Stormont Committee investigating the Scandal

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  1. September 18, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Reblogged this on seachranaidhe1.

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