Northern Ireland

Nama NI deal: The key figures and the background you need to know

The £1.2bn sale by Nama - the Republic of Ireland's "bad bank" - of its Northern Ireland property loans portfolio to US firm Cerberus was Northern Ireland's biggest ever property deal.

It is now the subject of criminal investigation and a parliamentary inquiry. Here is a guide to some of the institutions and key figures in the story.

National Asset Management Agency (Nama)

Nama was established in December 2009 by the Irish government to address the serious problems that arose in Ireland's banking sector as the result of excessive property lending. It is effectively a "bad bank" responsible for recovering the value of problematic loans made by other Irish banks.

Nama had previously paid about £1.1bn to Irish banks for the Northern Ireland loans, that originally had a value of £4.5bn.

Project Eagle

The name given to Nama's sale of loans taken by Northern Ireland property developers. The portfolio contained about 850 properties and development land, mostly in Northern Ireland but also in the Republic of Ireland and Britain. In January 2014, nine bidders from around the world were asked to come forward with proposals - two of them being Cerberus and Pimco.

Cerberus Capital Management

The New York investment firm that bought the entire Northern Ireland loan portfolio from Nama, completed the deal in June 2014, for what is believed to have been about £1.3bn.

Brown Rudnick

An international law firm, with offices in the US, Dublin, London and Paris. Cerberus says it engaged the firm as its lawyers for the Project Eagle sale.

Mick Wallace

Image copyright dail

The Irish independent politician who first made claims in the Irish parliament that a Belfast law firm had £7m in a bank account "reportedly earmarked" for a Northern Irish politician after the Nama NI property deal.

Tughans

The Belfast law firm named by Mick Wallace in connection with allegations about the £7m in a bank account "reportedly earmarked" for a Northern Irish politician. The BBC found that the £7m in an Isle of Man bank account was intended to facilitate payments to non-lawyers or deal fixers. Tughans were employed by Brown Rudnick to work on behalf of Cerberus.

Ian Coulter

The Isle of Man account was controlled by Ian Coulter, who at the time was a managing partner at Tughans. The firm said he had "diverted" the money into the account without the knowledge of other senior staff. It said the payment was retrieved and Mr Coulter left the firm in January.

He was alleged at the assembly's Nama inquiry by loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson to be one of five people who was to receive a payment upon completion of the deal.

Frank Cushnahan

A Nama Northern Ireland adviser appointed in 2010. He had been involved in trying to set up the sale of the property portfolio to another US investment firm, Pimco and according to evidence in the Dáil stood to be paid £5m. Mr Cushnahan had resigned as advisor in November 2013, before the eventual sale to Cerberus.

He was alleged at the assembly's Nama inquiry by loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson to be one of five people who was to receive a payment upon completion of the deal.

Brian Rowntree

Another Nama NI adviser and at the time, chairman of the Housing Executive. Both he and Frank Cushnahan were recommended for appointment to the Nama NI advisory committee by the then Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson.

Jamie Bryson

Image copyright NI Assembly

A loyalist blogger who made several allegations about the Nama loan sale as he gave evidence to a Northern Ireland Assembly inquiry into the deal.

He told Stormont's Finance Committee that DUP leader Peter Robinson was among five people set to receive a payment upon completion of the Nama deal - an allegation that Mr Robinson has rejected.

Jamie Bryson first came to public prominence during loyalist protests against Belfast City Council's decision in December 2012 to limit the number of days that the union flag flies from the city hall. It had previously been flown all year round.

Some of the demonstrations resulted in violence.

Earlier this year, Mr Bryson was found guilty of taking part in unlawful public processions as part of the widespread demonstrations. He received a six-month suspended sentence.

Although he was not involved in violence, a judge said the unlawful marches caused disorder at a "very tense and sensitive time".

He previously stood as an independent candidate in the 2011 local government election, receiving 167 votes in North Down.

Peter Robinson

Northern Ireland's first minister, who was alleged by Mr Bryson at the assembly committee's Nama inquiry to be one of five people set to receive a payment upon completion of the Nama deal.

DUP leader Mr Robinson rejected the allegations as "scurrilous and unfounded".

David Watters

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A Belfast accountant alleged by Mr Bryson at the assembly committee's Nama inquiry to be one of five people set to receive a payment upon completion of the Nama deal.

Andrew Creighton

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A property developer alleged by Mr Bryson at the Stormont finance committee's Nama inquiry to be one of five people set to receive a payment upon completion of the Nama deal.

Pimco

A US investment firm that had considered acquiring the NI Nama portfolio but, according to evidence given to an Irish Parliament committee, pulled out of the tender bidding process after discovering that Frank Cushnahan was in line for a £5m payment after the sale.

The Law Society

The professional body responsible for regulating the activities of solicitors in Northern Ireland. Tughans made the Law Society aware of Mr Coulter's departure in January and they had been investigating since then. After five months, it has called for any evidence about the sale of Nama's NI loan portfolio to be given to police and said it would co-operate with any police inquiry.

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