News

The Nama-named - who are they?

Gary McDonald
24 September, 2015 01:00

Jamie Bryson alleged yesterday that as well as Peter Robinson, four other people were to receive a share of a "success fee" linked to the sale of Nama's northern assets. They are:

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  • ANDREW CREIGHTON (54) is one of the north's best-known property magnates.

But although he's been associated with many high-profile developments in Ireland and Britain over the last 20 years, his own personal profile has been low key.

He shot to prominence at the turn of the millennium when, with business partner Frank Boyd, their William Ewart Properties business bought Dunloe Ewart plc’s Northern Ireland and UK assets for £100m.

Later they were behind plans for the £500m Royal Exchange regeneration project in Belfast city centre which had aimed to provide retail, office, hotel and residential developments. It never happened.

He was hit hard by the property slump, and over a five-year period the value of his holdings diminished by more than £100m and many of his businesses were wound up.

Mr Creighton is currently secretary and director of Brunswick (No.1), one of the largest property companies registered and trading from Northern Ireland and whose many subsidiary companies still include Ewart and Royal Exchange.

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  • DAVID WATTERS is managing partner of Belfast-based accounting and advisory firm McClure Watters, which he helped found in 1989 and is part of the global network of RSM with more than 37,500 people in 112 countries.

Under his leadership, the firm has grown into the seventh-largest accountancy firm in Northern Ireland with a raft of public and private sector clients.

Mr Watters is currently leading the firm’s activities in the property advisory and reconstruction division, and has advised clients on dealings with alternative sources of finance, lending institutions - and Nama.

He is currently also a non-executive director of construction giant John Graham Holdings Limited, which has turnover in excess of £300m and operating activities throughout the UK and Ireland.

Mr Watters, a Queen's University economics graduate, has sat on the boards of many companies and charities over nearly 30 years and chaired the Belfast Charitable Society, which was formed in 1752. He was recently appointed as a non executive director of the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency.

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  • IAN COULTER (45) resigned last January as managing partner of Tughans, one of the largest legal practices in Northern Ireland, saying he was "to pursue other business interests".

The high-flyer had joined Tughans from a City of London firm in 1997 and had been a partner since 2001 before becoming its managing partner in 2010 while still in his thirties.

A renowned corporate finance lawyer specialising in international mergers and acquisitions, Mr Coulter served a two-year stint as chief executive of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in the north, where he rubbed shoulders with prime ministers and senior politicians.

He was also a member of the commercial committee for Ulster Rugby and a founder member of the Riddel Hall School of Management at Queen's University.

Since leaving Tughans he has taken up directorship of a number of subsidiaries at construction firm Lagan Group, including Lagan Holdings Ltd, Lagan Asphalt and Antrim Asphalts.

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  • FRANK CUSHNAHAN is widely acknowledged as one of the most well-connected businessmen in the north, having held countless boardroom and advisory posts spanning nearly half a century.

But it is his role as an external member of Nama's NI committee, made in 2010 on the recommendation of then-Stormont finance minister Sammy Wilson, and his later association as an advisor with Pimco, the US investment firm which had expressed an interest in Nama's NI loan book, which has placed him under scrutiny.

A past pupil of St Malachy's College in Belfast, in the political sphere Mr Cushnahan is former director of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and he has also chaired OFMDFM's audit and corporate governance committee and the ministerial advisory panel to Stormont's Performance and Efficiency Delivery Unit.

He was a former non-executive member of the NI Housing Executive's audit committee from which he resigned to become chair of housing maintenance company Red Sky, which went bust in 2011 following a government audit and which earned him criticism for involving himself in negotiations between Red Sky and the Executive over a contracts dispute.

Mr Cushnahan, who until recently operated from a self-contained office unit in the Tughans building in Belfast, was recently admitted to hospital after experiencing ill health. He has denied any wrongdoing.

24 September, 2015 01:00 News

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