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Archive for April 22nd, 2012

“and by the way being declared bankrupt in the UK does not mean NAMA loses interest in you -far from it” NAMA chairman Frank Daly during radio interview in April 2012

On Friday last, it was reported in Iris Oifigiuil that NAMA had receivers appointed to Tivway Limited, a company already in receivership and liquidation. Tivway was one of Cork developer’s John Fleming’s main companies.61-year old John – pictured herewas discharged from bankruptcy in the UK in November 2011 after submitting himself to the UK’s one-year bankruptcy period in November 2010, and he might have expected last November that he could get on with his life without looking over his shoulder.

He didn’t figure on NAMA which was reported by the Irish Times in March 2012 to be pursuing John for a so-called “income purchase order” which would entitle NAMA to garnish his income for the next three years. That application in the British courts is ongoing, but we get further detail today about NAMA’s plans in the Sunday Independent where Tom Lyons claims that NAMA is now pursuing John’s pension, with Louise Brittain of Deloitte apparently appointed to review the matter on NAMA’s behalf.

Although pensions are not protected under Ireland’s archaic and draconian bankruptcy law, they are under UK law, but there limitations on protection, and the Sunday Independent cites an Irish company that facilitates UK bankruptcy for Irish people, who says that Irish pensions need be transferred to approved UK pensions before they become protected.

John Fleming’s property empire collapsed with debts of over €1bn, and it emerged that John was hopelessly bankrupt and given his home and business in theUK, it seemed natural he would seek bankruptcy as a solution to an impossible situation. But having emerged from theUK’s relatively lenient one-year bankruptcy term, it now seems NAMA continues its hot pursuit of outstanding debt, perhaps to decourager les autres.

Last week, it was reported that NAMAed developer and solicitor Noel Smyth has changed his registered address from Dublin to south London, but he specifically denied this was a precursor to a bankruptcy application. We are still unclear as to why Spain Courtney Doyle has relocated to London.

UPDATE (1): 22nd April, 2012. With thanks to WSTT below and Gavin Daly in the Irish edition of the Sunday Times today (available with subscription), we learn that NAMAed developer Patrick Fitzpatrick had been declared bankrupt in the UK. In well known financial distress for some time, Patrick together with his brother Tony and racing car enthusiast/developer Paddy Shovlin were at the receiving end of a NAMA judgment order in October 2010, and have lately seen their Beacon South Quarter and other assets including 1 King William Street in the City of London sold off to pay their debts.  Here is Patrick’s bankruptcy record at the UK’s Insolvency Service.

Gavin also reports at the Sunday Times today that the developers behind Ellen Construction, Martin and Michael Doran have also both been declared bankrupt in the UK.  Ellen Construction wasn’t publicly associated with NAMA though it is understood it had borrowings from non-NAMA bank, Ulster Bank. Here are the two bankruptcy records.

UPDATE (2): 22nd April, 2012. The value of John Fleming’s pension pot is in doubt. It is referred to in today’s Sunday Independent as “multimillion” but a report in the highly detailed article in the Southern Star last November 2011 said it was worth just over €527,000.

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Graph of the Week

 

Goldman Sachs thinksIreland’s competitive adjustment is complete. In pre-euro days if we had a financial crisis then our exchange rate with other currencies would weaken and our costs in international currency would reduce. Sadly that can’t happen in the euro which includes Germany at one end and Greece at the other. So we “internally devalue” as wages and other enterprise costs reduce. Goldman Sachs thinks that in our case, the internal devaluation is complete. Unfortunately for the EuroZone, Greece, Portugal, Spain and to a limited extent Italy still need adjustments – can they take more austerity?

Photograph of the Week

When NAMA developer David Agar had a whinge about his treatment at the hands of NAMA, he claimed that NAMA wouldn’t be happy until every developer in the country was living in a 3-bedroom semi and driving a Cortina. Some of the younger members of the audience here mightn’t know what a “Cortina” is, so the sale this week of a 1981 Ford Cortina in Scotland for GBP 10,000 (€12,000) might help you. Now this Cortina is special and has never been driven, and this was the last version of the car which underwent many transformations from when it was launched in the 1960s, the car above is the Mark V, my personal favourite was the Mark III which looks a bit like the American Dodge Charger. It’s a bit boxy but still a handsome enough car. David Agar’s nightmare, though.

And secondly this was the week of another high profile eviction from a family home in Ireland. An elderly couple was evicted from their €2m home in an upmarket Dublin suburb. It transpired that the couple own 21 properties in the State and are therefore landlords of some substance. They are presently camping out in front of their former home which is reportedly subject to a mortgage from Anglo. On the face of it, the couple is in far better financial shape than many in this State. But having said that, the pictures of an elderly couple being dragged from their home, the screams, the manhandling of the husband, the restraint of the wife and a couple left comforting each other as Gardai and bailiffs oversaw the repossession was powerful. This Government has been warned; it needs to fast track bankruptcy reform and better policies for dealing with mortgage distress where one in eight mortgages is either in arrears or has been restructured.

Social phenomenon of the Week

We’re becoming the “no comment” nation.

“A garda spokesman declined to respond to this criticism, saying it did not comment on operational matters.” Response to request for comment on policing the Labour party Ard Fheis in Galway last week end and the use of pepper-spray against protesters.

“We don’t comment on speculation about individual transactions, but we’ve previously indicated that we are optimistic that we will secure a satisfactory deal in respect of this property in the medium term and that remains our position,” NAMA spokesperson April 16th in response to a request for comment on the purchase of the Anglo HQ shell

“We don’t comment on the specifics of individual negotiations” – Central Bank of Ireland, April 16th in response to a request for comment on the purchase of the Anglo HQ shell

“His wife, who remained outside the house from which they were evicted, declined to comment citing legal matters before going into a neighbour’s house.” Asta Kelly, one half of the couple evicted from their €2m home in Killiney during the week

“Mr O’Brien, who owns 22 per cent of IN&M, declined to comment.” The aftermath of the “resignation” of Independent News and Media’s CEO, Gavin O’Reilly, after pressure on the debt-laden, balance sheet-insolvent media company from the company’s largest shareholder, Denis O’Brien

Fine Gael TDs declined to comment publicly yesterday” following pressure on Fine Gael deputy Olivia Mitchell against whom the Mahon Tribunal made adverse findings about inappropriate payments. Deputy Mitchell disputes the findings. Mind you “no comment” might have been better than the pronouncement of one unnamed FG TD who said “Olivia is a damn fine representative for the people of Dublin South. She was on the wrong side of the heave against Enda and will never be advancing but she’s still enthusiastic”
Quotation of the Week

“We cannot have a position where taps could be left running endlessly”  An Taoiseach Enda Kenny struggling to defend the disorganization apparent in the introduction of a new water charge

“I see meters as the friend of the householder and friend of business as they’ll prevent people from paying for water that’s wasted” Minister for Finance Michael Noonan defending the introduction of water meters

“Hurrah for fornication” champion of the turbary sector, Deputy Luke Flanagan during the poignant debate on the limited introduction of abortion in Ireland, a debate that veered from the emotional with Deputy Mick Wallace in tears, to the bizarre such as the 40-year old virgin from Mayo, Deputy Michelle Mulherin – that’s a presumption, by the way, about the unmarried Mayo solicitor and her apparent aversion to “fornication”, the Biblical language of judgment she invoked during the debate. In the end the proposed new legislation to allow abortion in this State in very limited cases was defeated 109-20. Another 80 Irish women are estimated to have traveled to theUK last week to obtain abortions.

Phonetic boo-boo of the week

Fionnan “stick two bolts in my neck and call me Adam” Sheahan claims this is how you pronounce “fornication”

fawr-ni-key-shuhn

In the backend of Leitrim perhaps, generally it’s pronounced fawr-nee-kAy-shun

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