According to the unaudited 2011 NAMA accounts, the Agency spent a tad less than €10m on legal fees last year, and it has a budget of a staggering €25m under that heading for 2012. It is an almighty budget, especially when you consider the general maxim that winning parties in court actions can generally seek to have their costs reimbursed.
Yesterday in Dublin’s High Court, NAMA made an application with an individual, Cyril Barden, named as the respondent. We do not have details of the application, so have no further information on the respondent or the matter at issue. There is a 41-year old Cyril Barden from Wexford who is a director of at least two property related companies, Kellden Limited and Granitefield Manor Management Company Limited, but it should be stressed we do NOT know if this is the same Cyril Barden named in the NAMA application.
The application number is 2012/2762 S and the applicant is National Asset Loan Management Limited represented by solicitors Hayes. As is usual with recently-filed applications, there is no solicitor on record shown on the Court Service for the respondent.
There is a second application which is a month old, but for completeness, might be mentioned here. This is application number 2012/2505 S and the respondent is named as Nadine Terry. Again there is no further information available from NAMA or the Court Service on the respondent, so we don’t know who they are, but there is a Terry Nadine associated with developer Frank Conway of the Conway Partnership, but it should be stressed we do NOT know if this is the same Nadine Terry named in the NAMA application. The applicant in this case is again National Asset Loan Management Limited, again represented by Hayes solicitors.
So far in 2012, NAMA has made 19 applications in Dublin’s High Court and has been on the receiving end of a further six. There is no evidence to show that NAMA is involved in more legal action than the banks from which it acquired loans, but still, it is an impressive portfolio of litigation for just seven months. NAMA is also seeing court action in other jurisdictions including New York, Florida, Georgia, Toronto and London, and these are just the ones we know about!
In the past, NAMA has taken legal action against individuals to enforce personal guarantees or to secure personal judgments, but it should be stressed that we do not know if either of these objectives lies behind the current applications. NAMA generally doesn’t comment on individual legal cases.
UPDATE: 24th January, 2013. The Phoenix Magazine in Dublin, out today, claims to provide further detail on the Cyril Barden case. The magazine which strives to be satirical claims that Cyril is a “blueshirt” and cites his support for Wexford Fine Gael TD, Dr Liam Twomey in the 2011 General Election as well as a contribution of €650 to the same TD in 2007. The Phoenix says that NAMA is seeking a €10m judgment on the back of a development in Kilmuckbridge in Wexford by the Richmond Partnership. The Richmond Partnership included Cyril and the two Doran brothers, Michael and Martin who have both gone on to be declared bankrupt in the UK. The Phoenix notes that “last year” a notice was filed with the Irish Companies Registration Office in respect of a company in which Cyril is a director, Falcon Financial Limited, and the notice refers to an address for Cyril in Pembrokeshire in Wales, a little bit west of Swansea where Ivan Yates was declared bankrupt last September 2012. The judgment from the NAMA hearing presided over by Mr Justice Peter Charleton is expected imminently.
UPDATE: 5th February, 2013, Yesterday in the Commercial Court division of the High Court, NAMA obtained a €10m judgment against Cyril Barden on foot of loans originally provided to the developer by AIB and Bank of Ireland in respect of developments in Wexford, loans that have since been acquired by NAMA. Judge Charleton was presiding and dismissed Cyril’s defences which included being “denied fair procedures over the acquisition of the loans by NAMA and that no conclusive and final valuation of the assets were made prior to that acquisition” The Judge also rejected the defence that one of the loans was not repayable on demand.
UPDATE: 7th February, 2013. The High Court judgment has now been published.