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Gibraltar-based developer faces questions on Robinson relationship

Developer Paddy Kearney is expected to give evidence to the Stormont finance committee
 

A GIBRALTAR-based developer who celebrated the refinancing of his Cerberus-owned loans in the company of Peter Robinson is set to be quizzed by MLAs about his relationship with the DUP leader.

Paddy Kearney, one of the so-called Maple 10 developers who bought shares in Anglo-Irish Bank in a deal to cut Sean Quinn's stake to the lender, is scheduled to appear before Stormont's finance committee on Wednesday.

His appearance before the committee probing the sale of the bad bank's northern debt portfolio comes after it emerged that Mr Robinson approached Nama in May 2013 on Mr Kearney's behalf.

The letter on Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister-headed paper to Nama CEO Brendan McDonagh said Mr Kearney was seeking "clarification on a number of key areas in order to arrive at a decision to move forward".

The DUP leader reminds the Nama chief executive of the developer's "input and contribution" to the north's economy over 45 years before urging Mr McDonagh to personally meet Mr Kearney.

OFMDFM has declined to say whether Mr Robinson had lobbied Nama on behalf of other developers.

A Nama spokesman said Mr McDonagh received the letter from Mr Robinson and passed to the relevant department within the bad bank but did not meet Mr Kearney.

"Mr McDonagh's practice is not to intervene in ongoing engagements between Nama case managers and debtors and to pass to case managers any correspondence received from or on behalf of debtors," the spokesman said.

In August, The Irish News reported how Mr Robinson met Jefferies LoanCore, a US real estate finance firm, days before it acquired Mr Kearney's loans from Cerberus.

When the refinancing deal for his rebranded Kilmona company was near to complete Mr Kearney held a celebratory dinner in Carrickfergus for up to 20 invited guests.

Peter Robinson was among those who joined the Gibraltar-based tax exile to celebrate the deal.

Mr Kearney has since bought Ten Square, the Belfast city centre hotel which formerly belonged to Co Down developer John Miskelly.

Ten Square had been put into administration by Cerberus earlier this year with creditors said to be owned £4m.

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