Northern Ireland

NAMA: Cerberus chief to go before Republic's Public Accounts Committee

Cerberus website
Image caption Cerberus is best known for buying more than £1bn of loans from the Republic of Ireland's National Assets Management Agency (Nama) in 2014

A senior executive from the Cerberus investment fund is due to give evidence to an Irish parliamentary committee investigating the controversial Nama Northern Ireland deal.

Its chief operating officer, Mark Neporent, is expected to give evidence to the Public Accounts Committee.

The National Assets Management Agency (Nama) was set up to deal with toxic loans after the 2008 property crash.

Cerberus bought Nama's Northern Ireland portfolio for £1.3bn in 2014.

'Shortcomings'

The Republic of Ireland's auditor general has concluded that there were shortcomings in the sale process, costing taxpayers up to £190m.

Cerberus has always maintained that its part in that process was "conducted with full integrity".

Cerberus declined to give oral evidence to a Stormont inquiry, citing a a variety of legal reasons; however it did give written evidence.


Analysis: BBC NI Economics Editor John Campbell

Cerberus does big deals but is not a outfit which welcomes big headlines.

In 2008, when it had a high profile involvement with the Chrysler car company, it wrote to investors apologising, saying: "We despise all the public attention we are getting."

The firm's founder, Stephen Feinberg, reportedly joked that if anyone at Cerberus gets their picture in the paper, "we will do more than fire that person - we will kill him."

So it's significant that the fund is wheeling out one of its top team to deal with the Nama issue - a story which has now been running for more than a year.


Mr Neporent is likely to face questions about the Cerberus relationship with two law firms - Brown Rudnick and Tughans.

The firms had been representing another fund, Pimco, which was bidding for the portfolio.

Payment

Pimco withdrew from the bidding process when it emerged that its fee arrangement with the firms was to involve a payment to Frank Cushnahan, a former Nama advisor.

Cerberus then engaged Brown Rudnick on what it terms "a success fee only basis", meaning a fee would only be paid if the deal was done.

Brown Rudnick agreed to share the success fee with Tughans.

Cerberus said it received "express confirmation" from both firms that no fee or commission was payable to any current or former Nama advisors.

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