NAMA secures permission to move against Grehan brothers

THE National Assets Management Agency has secured court orders enabling it to move against UK assets of Galway-native developer brothers Raymond and Daniel Grehan as part of its efforts to recover unpaid loans of more than €300 million.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly this week granted an application by Ciarán Lewis, for Nama, for European Enforcement Orders against both brothers, who have addresses in London. The application was made on an ex parte basis.

The orders allow Nama apply to the courts of all EU member states in its efforts to execute judgments obtained in the Commercial Court.

Last month, the Glenamaddy brothers consented to summary judgment orders totalling more than €300 million being entered against each of them at the Commercial Court in favour of Nama.

The orders arose mainly from guarantees provided over multimillion-euro borrowings, mainly from AIB, of the brothers’ companies but also included personal borrowings of €27 million for Raymond and €22 million for Daniel.

Smaller judgment sums were sought in relation to two of the brothers’ property partnerships: the Ashford Partnership and the St Lohman’s Partnership.

The orders meant summary judgment for about €312 million could be entered against Raymond and for about €307 million against Daniel. The orders granted this week relate to about €269.6 million of the judgment entered against Raymond and to about €264.8 million of the judgment obtained against Daniel.

The Grehans previously argued AIB had loaned substantial money on short-term facilities in the knowledge they could not be repaid in the short term. AIB wanted to lend on short terms to avoid the due diligence required for more formal loans, and the totality of the relationship with the bank should be examined, they argued.

Nama had argued that because AIB, when transferring the relevant loans to Nama, had certified they were short-term facilities, the Nama Act prohibited the Grehans making claims about their alleged understanding with that bank concerning repayment.

In a separate development, there were reports yesterday that Ray Grehan claims that he chose not to disclose his ownership of a property in Canada to the National Asset Management Agency because it had a nil value, according to a newspaper reports citing a source close to the insolvent businessman.

Mr Grehan did not disclose the existence of the €1.2 million property in the business plan that he submitted to Nama.

The apartment at The Residences in the Ritz-Carlton tower in Canada was uncovered in a worldwide asset search by forensic accountants working for Nama.

The source close to Mr Grehan claims he transferred the property, which is the subject of a court action by Nama in Canada, to a company to save on stamp duty. Mr Grehan declined to comment.

Nama took legal action to reverse the transfer of the property from Mr Grehan to a company called 2295661 Ontario Inc on November 17, 2011 – eight days after Nama secured a judgment of €269.6 million against him in the Irish High Court.

He obtained two mortgages from a Canadian bank to buy the property, which Nama claimed was transferred last month “with the intent to defeat, hinder, delay or defraud creditors of Grehan”.

The agency asked the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario to have the transfer of the property declared “null and void, and set aside as a fraudulent conveyance”.

The Canadian court has frozen the transfer of the property and made it subject to the Irish court judgment against Mr Grehan.

He does not intend challenging the Canadian action on the basis that he claims there is no equity left in the apartment given that it has fallen in value to the level of bank debt owing on the property.

Nama said Mr Grehan bought the property on August 16, 2011.

He initially opposed Nama’s application for judgment in the Irish courts, responding with affidavits on September and October 27 before then consenting to the judgment on November 9.

Nama secured orders in the Irish High Court earlier this week enabling the agency to move against Mr Grehan’s UK assets.

The agency is also seeking the sale of an apartment which it claims Mr Grehan owns in the One Hyde Park development in London to reduce his debts.

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