Nama blocked potential bidders for its Northern Ireland loans from hiring local agencies to value the properties against which the debts were secured ahead of their controversial sale to US company Cerberus.
It has emerged that potential buyers were told they could not hire local property professionals to value either the assets against which the Project Eagle loans were secured, or the debts themselves, in the run-up to the sale in April 2014.
According to sources in the Northern Ireland property industry, the mainly US-based investment funds interested in buying the loans initially approached local valuers to assess the portfolio for them, but then told them that the vendor, Nama, does not want anyone from Northern Ireland in the work.
As per a recent report by the State’s financial watchdog, Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) Séamus McCarthy, a lack of information deterred a number of investors from bidding for the loans, known as Project Eagle, and questions the approach taken by Nama to the €1.6 billion sale.
The property sources said that three potential bidders contacted the Belfast office of one estate agency in one day to ask if it would value the assets for them once it was known that Nama was selling the loans.
However, within 24 hours of the initial contact, two of them called back to say they had been told that Nama did not want them to use local agencies to do this work.