Northern Ireland news

Report into Nama's Project Eagle sale that's already more than three years overdue is delayed again

The commission of inquiry's report into Nama’s sale of its Northern Ireland loan book has been delayed

THE REPUBLIC'S commission of inquiry's report into Nama’s sale of its Northern Ireland loan book has been delayed again.

The commission had been due to deliver its findings into 'Project Eagle' at the end of this month, however, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has signalled that there will be a further three-month delay.

In a letter to the Dáil's Committee of Public Accounts, the taoiseach said a "number of developments" meant the commission had sought an extension.

The final report is now expected on December 31.

The correspondence also reveals that to date the commission has spent €3.6m (£3.08m), excluding third party legal costs.

The commission was established in June 2017 to investigate the sale by Nama of its Northern Ireland loan book to vulture fund Cerberus. Its report was originally scheduled for June 2018.

In the wake of the 2008 property crash and financial crisis, Nama bought the loans in 2010 from Irish banks.

Some of Project Eagle’s bigger borrowers included Paddy Kearney’s Kilmona, Frank Boyd’s Kilultagh Estates and Noel Murphy’s MAR Properties.

The trial in Belfast of two men facing charges linked to the sale of Project Eagle is not expected to take place until January at the earliest.

Prominent Belfast businessman and ex-Nama adviser Frank Cushnahan and solicitor Ian Coulter, a former managing partner in law firm Tughans, are jointly charged with one count of fraud involving a false representation made on or around April 3 2014.

Mr Cushnahan (79) of Alexandra Gate in Holywood, Co Down, also faces one charge of fraud by failing to disclose information.

Mr Coulter (49) of Osborne Park, Belfast, is facing four other charges.

These include two counts of fraud by false representation, making or supplying articles used in fraud, removing criminal property and transfer of criminal property.

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