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Nama 'unaware' of Frank Cushnahan's meeting with Pimco

Frank Cushnahan
Brendan Hughes

NAMA has said it was unaware of a meeting former adviser Frank Cushnahan had with a potential buyer of its Northern Ireland property loans portfolio.

Earlier this week details emerged of a meeting involving Mr Cushnahan and US firm Pimco in May 2013 while he was still on Nama's Northern Ireland Advisory Committee (NIAC).

The meeting was also attended by First Minister Peter Robinson, then DUP finance minister Sammy Wilson and solicitor Ian Coulter.

Mr Cushnahan resigned from the NIAC several months later in November 2013.

In a statement yesterday Nama said Mr Cushnahan never made any disclosure of an interest relating to Pimco or its possible interest in bidding for the northern portfolio.

"Nama was not made aware, either by Mr Cushnahan or any other source, of any meeting attended by Mr Cushnahan and Pimco while he was a member of NIAC," a spokesman said.

"Nama was not aware of any relationship between Mr Cushnahan and Pimco until March 2014, when Pimco notified Nama of a proposed fee arrangement that would have involved a payment to Mr Cushnahan."

In July Nama's Frank Daly told TDs that Mr Cushnahan was set to pocket £5m if the Pimco deal went ahead.

He said the former Nama adviser was to share in a three-way split of £15m with US law firm Brown Rudnick and Mr Coulter.

Nama said it then asked Pimco in March 2014 to withdraw from the sales process. The loan book was later purchased by another US firm, Cerberus.

Mr Cushnahan and all parties involved in the Nama deal have denied wrongdoing.

The so-called 'bad bank' yesterday added: "No external member of the NIAC had access to confidential information relating to the sale of the Northern Ireland portfolio.

"No bidder could have had a competitive advantage over another, as all bidders were given the same access to Nama's information prior to submitting bids in a data room set up for that purpose."

On Wedneday at the finance committee Mr Robinson said the meeting with Pimco in 2013 may have been set up by Mr Cushnahan and Mr Coulter.

Mr Robinson said he did not know whether Mr Cushnahan's involvement was a conflict of interest, and he did not consider it at the time.

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