The Irish Times London editor Mark Hennessy will soon be on his lonesome on the Irish press bench whilst sitting through court hearings when RTE’s Brian O’Connell retires from RTE this month, though as far as I can tell, RTE’s Brian has been coasting for the past few months ever since RTE announced the closure of its London office. Today, it is Mark Hennessy who is alone amongst the Irish media in reporting progress in a hitherto unreported case involving NAMA and Ray Grehan (pictured below) and others, a case that is set to be substantively heard in October 2012.
Ray Grehan and his brother Danny were amongst Ireland’s biggest developers, and one of NAMA’s biggest critics. The relationship between NAMA and Ray broke down in early 2011, and ever since there has been a series of receiverships and court cases as NAMA pursues debts which include judgment orders of nearly €300m for each of the Grehan brothers. It really didn’t come as a surprise when firstly Ray and then Danny were declared bankrupt in the UK earlier this year.
We knew NAMA had been in action in the courts in Toronto and New York successfully reversing transfers of Grehan assets, but we find out today that NAMA is also seeking to unwind a transfer in London. The property at issue is an apartment in one of London’s swankiest addresses, One Hyde Park, a stone’s throw from Harrods and which overlooks (on one side) the great expanse of Hyde Park. The apartment, number B.04.3 (pictured above) was transferred/sold by Ray Grehan to a company called Postlake in August 2010, according to the Irish Times. NAMA believes the price obtained was below the market value, and NAMA wants its money, and no doubt wants to warn off other debtors from engaging in similar alleged practices.
Yesterday at the High Court in central London, the case came up for mention and it seems NAMA wanted to defer the hearing that was scheduled for October because of what NAMA claims has been inadequate disclosure of documents by the Grehans – NAMA is suing both Ray Grehan and his wife Geraldine, whom the IT says is now “estranged”.The judge yesterday gave NAMA and its co-plaintiff, the bankruptcy trustee, short shrift telling them that their own performance had been “unacceptable” and “lackadaisical”. So it will be October [CORRECTION/EDIT: 14th September 2012. The NAMA spokesperson has been in touch to say that the reporting in the Irish Times is incorrect and the hearing has in fact been postponed by the judge from October 2012] when the hearing takes place – it is not clear if it was NAMA or the bankruptcy trustee that was criticised for delays.