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U.S. Law Firm Maintains It Acted Properly in NAMA Dispute
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Brown Rudnick, a U.S. law firm, has argued that it acted properly throughout a major NAMA transaction in 2014.

Summary: Brown Rudnick, a U.S. law firm, has argued that it acted properly throughout a major NAMA transaction in 2014.

According to the Irish Times, Brown Rudnick, a U.S. law firm, played a pivotal role in the controversy over the sale of the National Asset Management Agency’s loan book. Originally, the firm investigated the agency for one bidder, Pimco, but acted for the buyer, Cerberus, an investment fund.

  
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The fallout from the purchase of assets in 2014 has resulted in a police investigation in the North, as well as parliamentary inquiries in both Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The firm recently added three partners to its New York office.

The investigation was triggered by claims by independent TD Mick Wallace in the Dail about 7 million pounds that was transferred to the Isle of Man from Tughans, a Belfast law firm. Tughans worked with Brown Rudnick.

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NAMA has argued that the controversy about the payment is peripheral to the agency, and only involves the relationship between the advisers that worked for Cerberus.

Brown Rudnick has offices throughout the United States, as well as Europe, including Dublin.



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The firm and its Irish staff are well acquainted with NAMA and the various issues the Republic of Ireland’s banks have had to deal with since the economy crashed in 2008.

John Minihane, a Brown Rudnick partner based in Dublin, carried out due diligence on loans that were transferred to Nama from the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. Minihane did so while he worked for Mason Hayes and Curran. The IBRC took over Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.

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Bernard McEvoy, another Dublin-based attorney, and associate Inez Cullen acted for a property developer in the negotiation and finalization of debt facilities with NAMA. Businesses that sold their loans to the agency would have had to undergo this process.

Additionally, the firm represented subordinated bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank after it came under State ownership and became IBRC. They successfully challenged an offer of 20 cent in the euro against the €700 million debt that was due. The firm has also acted for a group of rebel shareholders at Irish Life and Permanent.

As for Project Eagle, a portfolio of 850 properties that belong to NAMA’s Northern Ireland borrowers, Brown Rudnick originally canvassed Northern Ireland’s then-finance minister Sammy Wilson on behalf of prospective bidders for the loans in the middle of 2013. The firm directly contacted the agency on Pimco’s behalf.

After discussions between Pimco and the agency, the board of NAMA decided to launch an open-market auction of the entire loan book at the beginning of 2014, which came to be known as Project Eagle.

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Pimco dropped out of this after revealing it agreed to pay 5 million pounds to Fran Cushnaham, a former NAMA advisory committee member. This was just part of an overall 15 million pound agreement that was reached with him, Brown Rudnick, and Tughans, which Brown Rudnick had engaged and with which Cushnahan had a close relationship. Cushnahan later resigned for “personal reasons,” according to the Irish News.

Next, Cerberus hired Brown Rudnick and Tughans as strategic advisers before becoming the winning bidder in April. The 7 million pounds transferred from Belfast to the Isle of Man was payment for this work from Brown Rudnick. According to the Irish News, several politicians stood to benefit from the money.

Ian Coulter, the managing partner of Tughans, resigned after the transaction was revealed. The transaction is being investigated by the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

Brown Rudnick has argued that it acted properly at all times, and that it complied with a request from Nama to demonstrated that there were no conflicts of interest.

Source: Irish Times

Photo credit: Brown Rudnick



 

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