Back in 2010 Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett directors of one of Irelands largest property development companies were to be investigated and possibly jailed for an alleged fraud that included Treasury Holdings selling off their Chinese assets with an estimated worth of €30 million Euro for the princely sum of €2 million, repayable by the new purchaser in smaller tranches over two years. The sale more than likely being a means of keeping the properties and cash out of the hands of the liquidators for KBC Bank.
Needless to say that nothing ever came of this but what is more to the point is that Johnny Ronan is not only free from any investigation but now free from NAMA and free to start on this afresh, thanks to the taxpayer. Like everything that NAMA does, it is about to hit the taxpayer once again for the difference in Ronan’s and Treasury Holdings debt and what price NAMA bought the debts for from the banks. Johnny Ronans new financiers have paid off Ronans debt to the tune of €400 million Euro and in 2014 NAMA sold the Treasury flagship which was Battersea Power Station development in London for €600 million to Malaysian investors.
Now it turns out that the Battersea development is worth €10 billion Euro… One penthouse is worth €50 million Euro alone!
Ronan, Barrett and Treasury Holdings may go back to their new financier friends and ask for the €300 million in the difference that they and their friends in NAMA have conveniently forgotten to add to their bill. They might say that is a matter for NAMA and nothing to do with them but the reality is that it is a matter for the taxpayer who once again is at a substantial loss.
Having said all of that, the blame for this lies firmly with NAMA as they were aware of the real value of Battersea and had they teamed up with any of the major UK developers or even left Treasury to develop it then they would have realised the billions that were up for grabs instead of selling off on the instructions of Michael Noonan because the bondholders were knocking on the Department of Finance door looking for more of our money.
But what is consistently and typical NAMA is that it tries to claim a huge loss as a victory in that it said that it made a profit of €100 million from the sale of Treasury Holdings property. What is more consistent with NAMA is that it serves only the banks, developers, vulture funds and foreign investors. Nowhere has it been seen to serve the taxpayers who are at risk for every transaction that NAMA undertakes as their activities are hidden from proper due diligence and financial surveillance by independent auditors.
The directors of NAMA, NTMA and Minister Noonan have lost the people €9.4 billion Euro by pleasing their friends instead of doing the job they are being paid to do which is to protect our interests! Meanwhile the property bubble is blowing up again for the selected few but deflating for the majority and that is why only taxpayers and protestors go to jail, for trying to survive in an unequal society.
But unfortunately the story doesn’t end there… The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) has announced last month that it has redeemed another €1 billion of senior bonds, its first redemption in 2015. €17.6 billion paid since 2011 (under the current government) Only another €24 billion to go by 2016 (under the current government)!
Makes Irish Water look like saints!!