Northern Ireland

Cerberus: Gareth Graham settles legal action with investment fund

Belfast businessman Gareth Graham
Image caption Gareth Graham's statement has been published as an advertisement in several newspapers

The Belfast businessman Gareth Graham has settled his legal action with the Cerberus investment fund.

The fund appointed administrators to some of his firms in 2015 and he has been strongly contesting its right to do so.

In a statement, he said the legal proceedings "have been resolved to the full satisfaction of all parties".

His statement has been published as an advertisement in several newspapers.

He adds that he regrets any "inadvertent harm" which has been caused to the Cerberus brand as a result of the litigation.

Project Eagle

Cerberus gained control of Mr Graham's loans when it bought the Northern Ireland portfolio of Nama in 2014, in a deal known as Project Eagle.

The fund's conduct was criticised during court hearings and Mr Graham also gave evidence to a Stormont committee which was examining Project Eagle.

He told the committee that Cerberus had behaved in a way which was "ruthless, unjust and unreasonable".

His statement said that as "certain matters have become clearer" it is now no longer possible to maintain his complaints about Cerberus in relation to Project Eagle.

It adds that he also wants to distance himself from "grave and serious allegations" made against Cerberus regarding payments to "fixers".

Legal costs

He said he is "content" that the fund is not and was not involved in any illegal conduct.

He has agreed to meet Cerberus' legal costs, which are likely to be substantial.

It is understood that the settlement was reached after a period of mediation.

It will now allow Mr Graham to regain control of his properties though it is not clear what the precise financial arrangements will be.

Cerberus borrowers have typically arranged finance from another lender to settle their debts or consensually sold off properties to make repayments.

'Fair and consistent'

Mr Graham said he looks forward to returning to his business interests and "putting this affair behind me".

A spokesperson for Cerberus said: "Mr Graham's comments are self-explanatory and consistent with everything Cerberus Capital Management has said on these matters to date."

In the past the firm has said that it had been "fair and consistent" in its approach to borrowers.

It is understood the fund considers Mr Graham's statement to be highly significant as he has been its most active critic in relation to Project Eagle.

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