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NAMA to go after homes of wealthy developers

National Assets Management Agency will move to seize developers' personal assets and houses -- despite pleas from builders for their family homes to be protected, the Irish Independent reports.

The paper has learned that construction industry bosses even invoked the Constitution to argue that the Government had an obligation to protect the families of builders who had gone bust.

But the behind-the-scenes pleas to Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan fell on deaf ears and the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) will proceed with the seizure of assets and homes belonging to once-wealthy developers.

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The revelations of intense lobbying by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) came as it emerged that an art collection held by developer Bernard McNamara at his Dublin home had been seized by the city sheriff on behalf of creditors.

Acting on the Government's orders, NAMA is determined to show that it is taking a robust stance in getting back as much as it can for taxpayers and not tolerating any sign that developers are flaunting their wealth.

The lobbying emerged as the 10 top property developers whose toxic loans have been taken into NAMA asked for around €1.5 billion in taxpayers' cash to complete projects that were left unfinished when the property boom imploded.

In business plans submitted to NAMA, the developers have said they require capital in order to finish the work.

But the Department of Finance has rejected suggestions that salaries of up to €500,000 are being paid to developers.

NAMA has a pot of €5 billion available to spend on specific projects.

The top 10 developers have already submitted business plans for the completion of viable projects. In some cases, the plans were rejected and the developers were told to come up with more realistic projections of income, a source said.

"Under the business-plan process, most developers must spell out exactly what they require to finish projects and pay down their debt. In some cases, there will be salaries included but they have to specify what the incomes would be. The income requirements should be very modest," the source said.

Lavish lifestyles will not be supported through working capital provided by NAMA, both the Government and the agency insist.

 

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