Irish businessman Gareth Graham has been granted a stay in the enforced sale of a property development in Belfast thanks to the High Court.
In a complicated case now being discussed by American law enforcement, Mr Graham’s onetime colleague Frank Cushnahan
worked with Mr Graham’s family bookmaking business before their relationship broke down in 2008. Mr Cushnahan retained a 5% share in the property business.
Nama – the bad bank
Loans held by the property business were then moved into Nama, the National Asset Management Agency, which acts as a ‘bad bank’. Created in 2009 by Irish government, Nama’s
purpose is to separate high risk assets and isolate them from the balance sheets of ‘good banks’ following the financial crisis and the subsequent collapse of the Irish property market.
Mr Cushnahan was later appointed as an adviser to Nama, and according to Mr Graham didn’t declare a conflict, although Mr Cushnahan says this is due to an administrative
Cerberus and beyond
Nama then sold the loans held by the property company to Cerberus, a US property investment firm set up in 1992 who focus on ‘distressed investing’. Cerberus appointed
EY as administrators to recover funds through the sale of property owned by Mr Graham’s company, namely the well-known Lyndon Court development in Belfast.
From Ireland to America
Pending the outcome of a case that Mr Graham is bringing against Cerberus in January 2016, the High Court have determined that the sale should be frozen.
Mr Graham says the appointment of EY as administrators was not valid, and is thought to be in the US discussing complaints he has regarding Cerberus with law enforcement
The case Mr Graham is bringing against Cerberus is due to be heard next year. If unsuccessful, Mr Graham will be liable to any losses incurred as a result of delaying the
sale of the Lyndon Court development.
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