It is reported by the BBC that one of NAMA’s largest debtors, Ray Grehan has obtained a bankruptcy adjudication in the UK. NAMA’s pursuit of the Galway developers, Ray and Danny Grehan was one of most bitter episodes involving the Agency in 2011. In April 2011, NAMA sought to appoint receivers to companies controlled by the Grehans, only to “stand down” the receivers days later after it emerged that NAMA apparently hadn’t followed procedure correctly. A demand for repayment of hundreds of millions of euro was presented by NAMA to the Grehans and after the inevitable non-payment, the receivers (and administrators in theUK) were re-instated.
News of the receivership was initially greeted with surprise because the Grehans were understood to have had an outline agreement with NAMA, but difficulties arose, including apparently after NAMA sought to have Harry Slowey appointed to the Grehan companies.
There then followed an acrimonious series of battles, as it was reported the Grehans were to be regarded as personae non grata at former buildings including the Glenroyal hotel. NAMA then sued the Grehans individually in the Irish courts to have judgments registered against them individually and on 9th November 2011, NAMA secured a judgment of €270m against Ray in Dublin’s High Court. There then followed legal tussles in Toronto, New York and possibly in London where the Grehans have €1m+ apartments. Just before Christmas, NAMA secured an order in London preventing the Grehans disposing of assets worldwide. Ray for his part gave interviews to the Sunday Business Post and to RTE for its NAMAland Prime Time special and it was obvious that there was personal bitterness between him and NAMA.
On 30thDecember, 2011 Ray Grehan using an address of Flat 7, 1-6 Bateman’s Row, in Shoreditch, east London and a post code of EC2A 3HH, was declared bankrupt in the High Court in London, according to the BBC with reference to the UK Insolvency Service. His full name is shown as Raymond Francis Grehan and his date of birth is shown as 8th October 1961 and the entry states “Raymond Francis Grehan of and currently trading atApartment 7, 1-6 Bateman’s Row, London EC2 3HH, lately residing at Crinstown, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland a Property Developer”
NAMA which is likely to be Ray’s largest creditor has not commented on this dramatic development. In the recent UK bankruptcy case involving Sean Quinn, his main creditor, Anglo (or IBRC as it is now known) is seeking to have the bankruptcy overturned so that, presumably, it can seek Sean Quinn’s bankruptcy in the Republic of Ireland.
In the UK, bankruptcy typically lasts 12 months though if creditors object to the discharge, conditions can be imposed on the bankrupt for up to 15 years. In the Republic of Ireland, bankruptcy now lasts for five years typically (down from 12 years, following an amendment to the legislation last Autumn) but there are proposals afoot to radically change the personal insolvency regime and new legislation is expected by March 2012.
UPDATE (1): 6th January, 2012. There is no word at present about Danny Grehan who also had a personal judgment of nearly €300m registered against him in November 2011 and who is now understood to be resident in Middlesex in the UK. There is no entry on the UK Insolvency Service website but that just shows actual bankrupts, not applications. NAMA has of course allowed another colossal borrower, John Fleming to declare bankruptcy in the UK and indeed, John exitedbankruptcy after 12 months in November 2011, after having debts of nearly €1bn when he declared bankruptcy in November 2010.
UPDATE (2): 6th January, 2012. NAMA is not making any comment at this time in response to the Ray Grehan bankruptcy.
UPDATE (3): 6th January, 2012. RTE is reporting ”"Clearly we will review the situation but our focus remains on recovering the maximum debt for the Irish taxpayer,” a spokesman for NAMA, now one of the world’s biggest property groups, told Reuters” Hmmm, has this move come as a surprise to NAMA? It was certainly on the cards, so hardly a surprise generally but was the specific revelation today a surprise?
UPDATE (4): 6th January, 2012. David Murphy on RTE Six One news has just said that Danny Grehan has also filed for bankruptcy but as at 6pm today, he is not showing on the UK Insolvency Service website.
UPDATE: 7th January 2012. Ray has spoken with the Irish Independent, and Emmet Oliver reports the conversation today. “I have cut the cord” and “ultimately it is good for the economy, it allows people to get back into business, to get a second chance, at the moment the property sector in Ireland is totally static” are the only direct quotations but Ray is also reported to have said that he expects hundreds of builders and developers to follow in his footsteps to the UK and to seek bankruptcy there.