Yesterday in the Commercial Court division of the High Court, the redoubtable Mr Justice Peter Kelly presided over a preliminary hearing in the case NAMA has taken against its former employee, Enda Farrell. The case was ultimately adjourned for four weeks, but we learn, via Mary Carolan in the Irish Times today, that Enda has owned up to sending what is reported as “confidential agency data he [Enda] allegedly misappropriated from the agency” to at least 24 email addresses – or “14 third party entities”, according to the Irish Examiner – including
(1) named persons in a Canadian asset management
(2) the owner of a real estate investment management business based in London
(3) a person working for a Dublin estate agency
(4) two working with a Dublin-based investment management company
(5) a Dublin-based Canadian asset management company
In an affidavit, Enda admitted that the first email was sent on 16th October, 2011 – almost one year ago.
The reporting of yesterday’s proceedings is really poor but it seems that Enda has admitted sending emails from his NAMA email address whilst employed at NAMA to the work email address of his wife, Alice Kramer who worked at Ernst and Young, and it seems he asked his wife to forward the emails to her personal Yahoo account. NAMA is reportedly claiming that this was a scheme to bypass the NTMA’s IT security system which apparently examines emails from NAMA work email addresses sent to free personal email accounts like Hotmail and Yahoo. [It would cost less than €20 to buy a domain name like DistressedPropertyInvestors.Com, set up an email address Enda@DistresstedPropertyInvestors.Com and then send emails from NAMA without the NTMA detecting it, so it seems Enda was not just allegedly a bad egg but not very bright either and it should be recalled that NAMA has said it has taken legal action against a former employee and his wife]
It is reported that NAMA believes the information at issue has been – in the words of the IT reporter – “unlawfully deployed in the commercial property marketplace”. No further details of the “deployment” are forthcoming from any of the court reporting.
The case is still not showing on the Courts Service website but it is hoped that there will be better reporting of the case when it returns to the Commercial Court next month. NAMA sought the adjournment yesterday to allow it complete its investigations. It seems that NAMA is still considering whether to bring a claim for damages, and it looks as if the court proceedings are in part being used by NAMA to apply pressure to get full disclosure on what has happened to its information. NAMA was represented by Cian Ferriter and Enda Farrell was represented by Frank Callanan, who according to the Independent, “said his client wanted to co-operate in any way [he could]”
Meantime, it is probably a fair bet that if, by his own admission, Enda did send information to at least 24 email addresses, that the horse has bolted and the genie is out of the bottle and detailed loan information is quasi-publicly available, and NAMA is left unconvincingly claiming that the loss of the information won’t damage it, or its debtors to whom it owes various duties.