Archive for April 15th, 2013

Anglo successfully contested Sean Quinn’s bankruptcy in Belfast and subsequently Sean was bankrupted in Dublin. Bank of Ireland successfully contested Brian O’Donnell’s bankruptcy in the UK, and it remains to be seen what happens now in Ireland. On the other hand, although Anglo kicked up a stink about David Drumm’s Massachussets bankruptcy, that was not overturned in Massachussets on jurisdiction grounds though it remains mired in legal battle with uncertainty over David’s eventual discharge.

It looks like there is going to be a battle royale over Sean Dunne’s bankruptcy with Ulster Bank – RTE and the Irish Times and the Irish Independent report on the proceedings – this morning signaling it wanted to serve Sean at an Irish address after what the Irish Times reports as “difficulties” in serving the bankruptcy papers on Sean in Connecticut; remember last week, the Sunday Independent’s Ronald Quinlan claimed that Ulster Bank had a man on the ground in the US for six weeks attempting to serve Sean with the bankruptcy papers, before Sean himself filed for bankruptcy on Good Friday.

It is unclear what exactly transpired this morning. It seems that the matter – which was signaled in press reporting but wasn’t shown on the daily list for the courts today – has been adjourned for a week by Ms Judge Elizabeth Dunne, the no-nonsense judge who sent the Quinns to jail for contempt last year. It seems that a full bankruptcy hearing will be heard at the end of May 2013 when the Judge will be asked to adjudge Sean bankrupt in Ireland.

It seems that Ulster Bank is claiming or is going to claim that Sean’s centre of main interest is in Ireland and not in the US, and Ulster Bank this morning said that Sean was only living in the US on a temporary visa. It is believed Sean will vigorously contest any attempt to prevent his US bankruptcy from proceeding and will deny claims that his centre of main interest is in Ireland.


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“An aggressive strategy by the Republic’s assets recovery agency in Northern Ireland could have a detrimental effect on North-South relations, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has warned.” Belfast Telegraph report today

There is still much head-scratching going on at the political support which developer Alistair Kennedy has received from some local politicians in Northern Ireland after his hotel, the Ramada Portrush was placed in administration at the behest of NAMA last Thursday evening. Although NAMA is not commenting on this specific case, it has been vocal in the past with its claims that foreclosure is a last resort, and of course in this case, the Portrush Ramada continues to trade and there is no talk of staff losses or closure of facilities – indeed, if it is as profitable as claimed by Alistair Kennedy, making GBP 400,000 on turnover of GBP 2.2m, then there shouldn’t be any reason why it shouldn’t continue to thrive.

But the DUP’s Gregory Campbell, Ian Paisley junior and today, Minister for Finance and Personnel, Sammy Wilson have all expressed grave misgivings about the foreclosure. Not a dickey bird seemingly from the other main parties in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein, SDLP, UUP nor Alliance. Ian Paisley junior and senior have had well-documented links to another Northern Ireland developer, but there hasn’t hitherto been any public association between Messrs Paisley and Alistair Kennedy.

Until now.


Here’s a piccy from the launch in 2011 of the NW200, a road motorcycle race held every May in county Antrim and county (London)Derry. It seemingly shows the then 85-year old Ian Paisley senior along with what used to be called a dollybird and a nice Ducati. The picture itself is copyrighted and is available for sale here – the screengrab of the Pacemaker website is used here for comment and criticism. Ian Paisley junior is known to be a motorcycling fan and is a member of the British Motorcycle Federation and says this of the NW200 on his own website

“This is the largest out door sporting/tourist event in Northern Ireland. On average it attracts more than 120,000 visitors. Many of who visit the province for up to one week, tour and spend money locally. Whilst the event takes place in the Portrush, Portstewart & Coleraine triangle area the impact on North Antrim is immense. The organisers, under the management and direction of Mervyn White are all volunteers. In recent years Northern Ireland Events Company have given some financial support and guidance that in my view is insignificant given the size and significance of the event. A seven-year financial package in addition to that already being provided targeted via the organisers to enable the attraction of new racers and increase the pull of the sporting event is essential. Additional resources at the disposal of the organisers (Colerain and District Motorcycle Club) are essential, as it will enable over the next seven years a major growth in the event.”

The Kennedy Group, of which Alistair Kennedy is a principal, sponsored the NW200 during the boom years and as recently as 2009, the race was known as the Kennedy International NW200.

Today, Minister Wilson has come out and given some carefully considered comments to the Belfast Telegraph about NAMA’s foreclosure on GBP 48m (€57m) of loans owed by the Kennedy Group. There is no statement on the Department of Finance and Personnel website, so all you have is the Bel Tel’s reporting in which Minister Wilson says

“I don’t know all the background about the group on the north coast or the problems or discussions they have had with Nama about paying off debts, but I would be concerned this was a new approach with which Nama are trying to act robustly with businesses in Northern Ireland. I will be raising this with Nama.

We don’t want this to become a source of friction between the administrations in Northern Ireland and the Republic, which has done fairly well out of loans the UK has made to bail it out.

Such a new approach by Nama would give me grave concerns, as this business could be the first of many.If that isn’t the case, and this is a specific issue Nama has with this company, then Nama needs to say what that is. To close businesses making money is just daft” [ENDS]

The direct quotes in the Bel Tel report from Minister Wilson use less inflammatory language than might be justified in the Bel Tel conclusion that NAMA’s move could “affect North-South relations” but we obviously haven’t all of the comments. NAMA is not commenting on the case.

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[Here’s the report itself]

Over the weekend whilst researching this blogpost, I was trying to locate a copy of the McCracken  Tribunal report; remember, the McCracken Tribunal sat in July 1997 and examined payments to certain politicians including former taoiseach, Charles Haughey and former communications minister, Michael Lowry. The report was produced at the start of August 1997 and discussed in the Dail in September 1997 – transcript of Dail debate here.

No online version of the report could be found, which is curious. It’s not apparently on the Department of Justice’s website, nor on An Taoiseach’s nor is there a dedicated website like that for the Moriarty Tribunal. And nor was it on Gavin Sheridan’s TheStory.ie nor PublicInquiry.eu nor GavinsBlog.com. There is reference to it in the Moriarty Tribunal reports but I could not find an exact copy.

I am grateful to Conor Ryan, Investigative Correspondent at the Irish Examiner for providing a copy of the report today. [AMENDED] It is an important document in the history of our State’s governance.

It isn’t the intention to examine the report here, merely to make it available online. Well worth a read. Again, the report is now available online here.

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You will be glad to have confirmed the identity of at least one bondholder to whom we have paid tens of billions. David Tepper has been named by Forbes as the highest earning fund manager in 2012. He, himself personally, was paid USD 2.2bn (€1.68bn) in 2012; yes, he actually earned 2,671 times Pat Kenny’s 2012 RTE fees. Forbes reports “his flagship hedge fund successfully bet on stocks and other securities at key moments in 2012, posting a net return of nearly 30%. His $15 billion Appaloosa Management has been knocking out annual net returns of about 30% since 1993”

And how is David earning 30% annual returns? We don’t have a detailed breakdown but we’ll remember David here in Ireland after his January 2013 performance on Bloomberg TV, when he told the US audience.

“We invested in the Bank of Ireland… and we bought their bonds, subordinated bonds…They [BoI] wanted to ‘cram us down’ … So we took them to court.. We were gonna go into the English and Irish courts to fight the Bank of Ireland, and fight the Irish Government for that matter…We finally won at the beginning of this year… The debt was trading at 40/50 cents…..So the Bank of Ireland this year, goes and issues a new issue, of the same debt…. a month and a half ago….the debt is now trading at 115..The only reason it is worth buying, is because we fought it, and we won”

Here’s the video

Bank of Ireland, the bank into which we have shoveled €4.7bn gross, about €3bn net.

We have no real idea of the bondholders in Anglo, Irish Nationwide, Permanent TSB, EBS and AIB into which we have shoveled €60bn. Yes, there was a partial listing of INBS junior bondholders from Guido Fawkes which Senator Norris tried to read into the Seanad record, and was stopped, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Challenge the government on this and the key defence is “think of the credit unions”, but we know they are suffering circa €15m losses on deposits at Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. The government also claim that because the banks don’t maintain lists and the banks merely pay clearing companies which then make payments to the actual bondholders, that there is no way of knowing the ultimate identity of the bondholders. Well, at least, we know David.

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Week Ahead 15th-21st April 2013
Main Irish economy, property and political events this week
We MAY get the top-level NAMA results for 2012 (NAMA CEO indicated as much 3 weeks ago)
We MAY get the NAMA management accounts and report for Q4,2012 & 2012 mgt accounts
10th Troika review of bailout scheduled to start in April 2013, awaiting precise dates
Monday 15th April 2013
Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index
CSO Quarterly Institutional Sector Accts Non-Financial Q4 2012 & 2012 (Preliminary)
Tuesday 16th April 2013
CSO Goods Exports and Imports February 2013
UK IPD commercial property indices for March 2013
Dail reconvenes after Easter recess
Cabinet to consider €6bn strategic investment fund
Wednesday 17th April 2013
CSO International Sourcing Survey 2009-2011
CSO Agricultural Price Indices February 2013
CSO Services Producer Price Index Quarter 4 2012
CSO Trade Statistics January 2013
Irish commercial property indices from Jones Lang LaSalle Q1,2013
Central Bank before the Oireachtas finance committee on bank charges
Thursday 18th April 2013
Results of Croke Park 2 union ballots expected
Friday 19th April 2013

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