Business Irish

Sunday 24 September 2017

Findlater House buyers had been pursued by Anglo

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A Pakistan-born businessman and his family, whose London interests were being pursued last year by Anglo Irish Bank for the repayment of €21m in loans, are the buyers of a building on Dublin's O'Connell Street that was sold earlier this year by NAMA, the Irish Independent has learned.

Findlater House, which had been acquired in 2005 for €30m-plus by Garrett Kelleher's Shelbourne Developments, was bought from NAMA for €6.1m by a company owned by Jalaluddin Kajani and his family.

They plan to turn the property into a hotel. Mr Kajani has Irish citizenship, having moved initially to Ireland in 1980 from Pakistan. The family own three boutique hotels in upmarket areas of London.

Mr Kelleher's acquisition of Findlater House had been financed by Anglo Irish Bank.

The acquisition marks a somewhat dramatic turn of events for Mr Kajani's family.

Last December, Mr Kajani secured a limited injunction to prevent Anglo Irish Bank, then the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, or receivers from Allsop appointed by the bank, from selling any of his assets, including two London hotels, in order to pay off a €21m debt.

Mr Kajani claimed that he had been put under duress in 2007 and 2008 by Anglo to accept what he said were unsuitable terms for refinancing which caused his company to default on repayments.

In 2007, he had used funds from Anglo to buy properties in London and convert them into hotels. He was then told by Anglo that he would have to enter a new arrangement, or "swap transactions" to refinance his loans.

He subsequently agreed to new terms for a total of £15.2m (€18m) and used nine properties owned by him and his wife as security. But when Anglo was nationalised in 2008, he came under pressure to reduce his debt. He sold some properties to do so based on the premise that he would retain ownership of the three London sites that included his hotels.

Despite generating nearly €8m from the sale of properties, Anglo issued a demand for the repayment of €28m. That was later reduced to €21m following the sale of further properties.

HOTEL

Filings for Mr Kajani's Supergrace firm in London show that the company recently satisfied a number of mortgages owed to Anglo. Mr Kajani was uncontactable yesterday. NAMA and IBRC, which is now in liquidation, declined to comment.

The owner of Findlater House is UK-registered company Findlater House Ltd. It has just submitted a planning application to Dublin City Council to convert the building to a 198-bedroom hotel.

Findlater House Ltd is owned by Mr Kajani and his family. He was initially a director of the company when it was established in April but resigned that role immediately after.

Irish Independent

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