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Irish Judge Dismisses Treasury Holdings Challenge to NAMA

Ireland’s High Court dismissed a challenge by Treasury Holdings Ltd., a real estate developer, against the National Asset Management Agency’s appointment of receivers to some of the company’s units.

Treasury’s case was rejected because the company had agreed not to object to the appointment of receivers if talks with investors didn’t satisfy Dublin-based NAMA, Judge Mary Finlay Geoghegan wrote in the judgment, issued at the court in the Irish capital today. NAMA, the country’s so-called bad bank, rejected offers in January from Hines Real Estate Holdings LP and Macquarie Group Ltd. to buy loans secured by assets owned by Treasury, she said.

“An agreement which purports to remove any recourse to the courts in the event a dispute arises may be void at common law,” Geoghegan said. “However, on the facts, I have concluded that this is not such a case.”

NAMA set a Jan. 25 deadline for Dublin-based Treasury Holdings to pay back part of the 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in loans that the government agency held. It appointed receivers when the developer failed to do so. NAMA was set up in 2009 to help purge Ireland’s banks of 74.2 billion euros of troubled commercial real-estate loans, for which it paid about 31.7 billion euros.

Treasury will appeal the court ruling. “We believe that a third-party negotiator should now be appointed to secure the best bid for the Treasury Holdings loans,” the developer said in an e-mailed statement.

NAMA welcomed the ruling and “will continue to work with the NAMA-appointed receivers in this case to maximize the return to the taxpayer,” the agency said in an e-mail.

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