Suspended sentence for NAMA official who disclosed confidential information

The information was described as “potentially commercially valuable”

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A former National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) official has been handed a two year suspended sentence for passing on confidential information.

Enda Farrell, from Dunboyne in Co Meath, was responsible for the valuation of properties taken on by the agency.

This case was the first of its kind to become before the courts.

Farrell pleaded guilty to eight charges under a part of the NAMA Act, that makes it illegal to disclose confidential information - an offence that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The court heard he was transferred to NAMA in 2009 and had access to a huge volume of confidential information.

It was his job to put a value on properties transferred to the agency.

Before leaving for another job in February 2012, he e-mailed the information to a third party business account. It was then forwarded onto his own personal account, from which he sent it to two investment companies.

It contained valuations from 2009 for NAMA controlled properties transferred from the likes of the Harcourt Doherty Group, the Cosgrove Group and the O'Flynn Group Tiger Developments.

It also contained valuations for a German portfolio containing around 25 properties, another portfolio containing hundreds of hotels and information relating to the loans of developer Paddy McKillen.

Full cooperation

The information was described as "potentially commercially valuable" but the court heard he did not make anything out of the disclosure and NAMA was not at a loss because of it.

When asked why he did it, he later told gardaí he was actually trying to advance NAMA's position and spoke about the stress he was under in the job - working 12 hour shifts, seven days a week.

At last month's sentence hearing, Judge Karen O'Connor heard he cooperated fully with gardaí and even travelled back from Brussels voluntarily to answer questions.

The court heard of the devastating effect it has had on his life.

He is out of work and his career prospects were described as "bleak" as a result of what he did.

Without his mitigation, Judge O'Connor said the court would have considered a three year sentence.

Before handing down a two year sentence, which she suspended in full, she also said she would have taken a very different view if he had materially benefited from the crime.