Anglo Irish's legal row with Glen Dimplex boss
O'Driscoll and bank sue each other
THE ante was upped last week in the legal row between Sean O'Driscoll and the former Anglo Irish Bank, after its special liquidator KPMG served proceedings on the Glen Dimplex boss seeking €1.8m.
O'Driscoll wrote back to KPMG last week saying he would lodge this money in the High Court pending the outcome of four separate legal actions he is taking in Dublin and one in London against the bank.
The chairman and CEO of the electrical giant is taking his actions against IBRC seeking damages of a multiple of the bank's €1.8m claim against him. O'Driscoll borrowed the €1.8m from Anglo in part to fund his investment in the bank's property funds.
His actions against the bank relate to his investments in four different property funds set up by Anglo Irish Assurance, a division of the bank set up to provide personal and retirement investment services to its customers. Along with other investors in these funds O'Driscoll alleges that the bank invested his money inappropriately in highly geared properties.
In one legal action, taken alongside Finn Leyden, chief executive of SIAC, O'Driscoll is alleging misrepresentation by the bank's old wealth management division and breach of fiduciary duty to them in favour of Anglo borrowers.
Investors in particular have expressed concern about how Anglo funds marketed as low-risk and suitable for the retirement pensions of private clients in many cases ended up buying properties which had been built by big developers with highly geared borrowings from the bank itself.
The liquidation of IBRC has plunged legal actions against the bank into doubt as they rank behind other more senior creditors, making it unlikely the bank will ever pay out, even if they win their cases.
However, clients of the bank may be able to offset money they owe the bank against damages from their legal actions.
O'Driscoll is said to have offered to enter mediation with the bank in order to settle the dispute but this offer has not been taken up so far.
Anglo Irish Assurance invested in four different property funds based in the UK, which bought high-profile assets in London, Manchester and other big cities.
Well-known investors who put money into property funds with Anglo include Galway developer brothers Brian and Luke Comer; boxing impresario Barney Eastwood; Ballymore's Sean Mulryan; former Anglo banker John Rowan; and John Moulton, the founder of Better Capital, a private equity firm.
O'Driscoll is one of six industry partners appointed in March by the Government to assist with the implementation and monitoring of reforms under its Action Plan for Jobs. This aims to create 100,000 jobs by 2016. Cork-born O'Driscoll became CEO of Glen Dimplex in 1998.