The European Commission has cleared the National Asset Management Agency in an investigation into whether it benefited from illegal state and had given unfair advantages to certain property developers. 

The investigation came as a result of five developers - Michael O' Flynn, Paddy McKillen, David Daly, Patrick Crean and MKN Properties - complaining to the Commission that NAMA was extending loans at very favourable rates to its existing creditors. 

The Commission said its investigation showed that NAMA, which was set up at the height of the credit crisis of 2009, had acted like a private investor and its decisions had been in the best interest of the Irish tax payer.

"Our assessment shows that NAMA's activities did not breach EU rules," Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

She said that NAMA had "acted as a private operator would have done, and in line with its objective to obtain the best possible financial return for the State and Irish taxpayers."

In a statement, NAMA said it welcomed the European Commission's decision.

The agency said it is pressing ahead with its funding programme with a view to maximising the return on commercially viable residential units from sites under the control of its debtors and receivers.

But the developers who brought the complaint Group said today that it was impossible to rationalise the decision given the evidence available, the actions of NAMA and changes in NAMA's operations and interest rates since the complaint was made.

The developers said the main thrust of the complaint was the transformation of NAMA since 2015, but added that this had not been addressed at all in the Commission's decision.

"This is most alarming and undermines the credibility of the decision," they said in a statement. 

They also said it was "astonishing" that the decision has taken over two years and despite this, the Commission had not dealt with the fundamental issue of NAMA's changed remit in 2015.