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NAMA & the IMF

Simon Carswell had an excellent page one piece in the Irish Times this morning. He wrote:

THE INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund (IMF) told Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan last April that the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) would not lead to a significant increase in lending by the banks.

The comments, which appear in internal Department of Finance documents released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act, were made by senior IMF official Steven Seelig who will join the board of Nama in May.

Minutes of a private meeting at the department between Mr Lenihan and IMF officials on April 29th last state that the “IMF (Mr Seelig) do not believe that Nama will result in significant increase in bank lending in Ireland”.

The meetings were held for the purposes of the IMF compiling its annual economic assessment on Ireland in the so-called Article IV report published last June.

The Government has maintained that Nama’s purchase of bad loans from the banks with State bonds would increase the flow of credit in the economy since the plan was unveiled last April.

Constantin Gurdgiev has an excellent followup:

But what is new is the fact that this IMF opinion was known to the Government and its advisers who, having buried it from public view, have gone out on a prolonged PR campaign, in effect liberally treating the truth about Nama. Ditto for NTMA and Nama officials. That public representatives and officials engaged in such an act is a betrayal of public trust. It is, simply put, a deception of public opinion.

I have sought a copy of the FOI, but only received a single page of what was apparently a voluminous FOI. I will seek a copy of that FOI in a future request. The information is contained below, which I received from the Department of Finance.

Minister meeting April 29, 2009

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