Emails support claims Frank Cushnahan peddled Nama assets while working for bad bank
FRESH evidence has emerged to support Mick Wallace's claim that businessman Frank Cushnahan misused his position as a Nama adviser.
Extracts of emails published by a number of Sunday newspapers show the former Belfast Harbour Commission chairman discussing "very substantial opportunities" to acquire Nama assets at a time when he was working for the Republic's bad bank.
In the Dáil on Thursday, Mr Wallace claimed the former Nama Northern Ireland advisory committee member was peddling its assets overseas shortly after being appointed an adviser on the recommendation of the DUP.
The £1.24 bn sale of Nama's northern loan book to US vulture fund Cerberus has been mired in controversy after it was claimed by Mr Wallace last year that £7m lodged in an offshore bank account was destined for a Northern Ireland politician.
A previous rival bid by Pimco foundered after it withdrew due to concerns about a fixer's fee for Mr Cushnahan and others.
Last week, the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee heard from a senior Cerberus figure that the company paid £15 million for access to the Stormont government as well as other valuable information.
Earlier this year secretly recorded footage was broadcast by BBC Spotlight showing Mr Cushnahan accepting £40,000 in cash from Co Down developer and Nama debtor John Miskelly.
In the latest revelations, Mr Cushnahan boasts to a prospective business associate of being "heavily engaged" by Nama.
The emails from between 2010-2012 were sent to Barry Lloyd, a computer consultant based in Clogher, Co Tyrone who is reported to have extensive Asian business contacts.
Mr Cushnahan tells Mr Lloyd that the Nama system of acquiring distressed loans from Irish banks meant "there were very substantial opportunities for major returns to be made for anyone who can access international/institutional funds to acquire blocks of development assets from either the development and/or the agency itself".
Mr Cushnahan, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, writes that one of Mr Lloyd’s Asian associates "could be key to potential opportunities".
"I will, of course, initiate any necessary documentation to secure the best interests of all,” the email from the former Nama advisr states.
According to the Sunday Times, other emails show Mr Lloyd communicating with parties who were later involved in the winning offer for Project Eagle from Cerberus.
The paper reports that Mr Lloyd had dealings with Belfast law firm Tughans, via US counterpart Brown Rudnick, as well as Nomura, a large Japanese investment bank, which considered a proposal a loan to a Chinese syndicate that was interested in bidding for Nama assets. Nomura later provided £315m of Cerberus’s £1.2bn bid for Project Eagle, according to the Sunday Times.
Mr Cushnahan also wrote about Andrew Creighton, the developer whose loans were in Nama that was named by loylaist blogger Jamie Bryson, as one of the beneficiaries from the £15m fixer's fee. Mr Creighton denied the allegation.
In his email to Mr Lloyd, Cushnahan said Creighton "is one of the most substantive ‘players’ within and without an all-Ireland economy where a mutual arrangement with . . . [an] institution/ private investor and/or a group of investors would result in substantive ‘upturn’ for the related counter-parties who have an acceptable formalised arrangement”.