Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
19. Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Finance if the National Asset Management Agency has considered measures to prevent the transfer of assets from NAMA debtors to spouses or other family members; if any legal proceedings have been initiated to reverse such transfers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31799/11]
Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): In circumstances where it is obvious that the purpose of an asset transfer, whether to a spouse or otherwise, was a pre-emptive attempt to put assets beyond the reach of NAMA, NAMA has a number of statutory remedies available to it under Irish law. These include the provisions of the Conveyancing Act, the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 and Section 211 of the NAMA Act which provides that NAMA may apply to a Court to declare a disposition to be void if it can show that the effect of the disposition was to impair the value of an eligible bank asset or any rights that NAMA would have acquired but for the disposition. At a recent meeting of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, the Chief Executive of NAMA pointed out that, having been through the business plans of debtors which account for close to 75% of NAMA debt, he does not consider that there is a “huge pot of gold” that can be recovered through legal proceedings to reverse asset transfers by NAMA debtors.
I am informed by NAMA, however, that most of the debtors who engaged in such transfers are co-operating with it as regards a voluntary reversal of asset transfers. As negotiations are ongoing with many debtors and assets are being re-valued at current prices, it is not yet possible to determine the final valuation of reversed asset transfers.
In a number of cases where debtors are refusing to co-operate, it has been necessary for NAMA to adopt a number of approaches, depending on the legal advice received in each particular case. This may involve the pursuit of personal guarantees through the courts and, in some cases, will require litigation to reverse asset transfers where the original intention appears to have been to place the assets concerned beyond the reach of NAMA.
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