News

Nama 'deal fixers' were accountant and developer

Former managing partner Ian Coulter of Tughans law firm (pictured) transferred more than £7m to an offshore account in the Isle Of Man

A partner at a top Belfast-based accountancy firm and a leading property developer are amongst the 'deal fixers' who helped facilitate the purchase of Nama's Northern Irish assets by New York US investment company Cerberus.

The accountant has provided consultancy services to Nama while the property developer was a Nama debtor.

It is understood that these two individuals were part of a small group of business people who helped facilitate the block sale of Nama's Northern Irish assets. In April 2014 it was announced that Cerberus paid £1.3bn for the portfolio which had a face value of about £3.5bn.

The integrity of the deal has been called into question after it emerged that a managing partner in a leading Belfast law firm Tughans had transferred more than £7m to an offshore bank account.

A portion of the money was understood to have been intended to facilitate payments to deal fixers.

Two documents have been brought to the attention of The Irish News which show the involvement of such individuals.

A strongly worded letter from the Belfast accountant to Tughans, outlined work conducted to secure the Cerberus deal, and sought an explanation as to why the money owed had not been paid.

The second document is believed to have been drafted during exit negotiations between Tughans and its former managing partner Ian Coulter.

Mr Coulter made an abrupt exit from Tughans in January following a dispute over the £7.5m payment for work relating to the Cerberus deal.

The document refers to what Coulter could potentially expect to receive on his exit and it suggests that "third parties" would be dealt with. It is believed to have been drawn up before discussions broke down between Coulter and Tughans in early January.

The Law Society, which has been carrying out an investigation into the offshore money transfer since January, is expected to have been given copies of the documents.

Tughans, Coulter and the Law Society refused to comment on the documents. The Belfast accountancy firm also declined to comment. The property developer could not be reached.

Last week, Coulter broke his silence over the £7.5m payment made to Tughans by a US law firm acting for Cerberus.

He said had not received any personal financial benefit for his work nor was the money ever intended for any politician.

The concept of a Nama deal was developed by "other business people" in Northern Ireland, Coulter added, before any involvement of Cerberus or any bidder.

Coulter's statement unveiled a dispute with his former employer. The lawyer said £7.5m was paid into a Tughans "company account". A portion was retained by Tughans and the remainder of the money was then transferred by a colleague to the offshore bank account under his instruction.

Tughans said it strongly disagreed with this version of events.

The Law Society said earlier this month that it has satisfied itself that any funds in question are secure whilst an investigation by it and the National Crime Agency was on-going.

A potential deal by a rival US investment fund Pimco was aborted after it emerged that a £5m payment was due to be made to businessman Frank Cushnahan.

Mr Cushnahan had resigned as a member of the Nama Northern Ireland advisory months before the Nama tender.

News

Today's horoscope

Horoscope


See a different horoscope:  


301 Moved Permanently

Moved Permanently

The document has moved here.