Friday 20 October 2017

Gay Byrne sues bank over €15m London office

Broadcaster stops bank from calling in loans

GAY BYRNE: Launched a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank
GAY BYRNE: Launched a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Television legend Gay Byrne and one of Ireland's richest men, pharma tycoon Seamus Mulligan have launched a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank over loans related to a €15m prime property in London's West End. The Mayfair building is the London headquarters of fashion giant Moschino.

Byrne and Mulligan, who made a fortune when his Azur Pharma merged with Jazz Pharmaceuticals in a €1bn deal in 2011, were part of the Conduit Partnership, a Quinlan Private consortium that bought 28/29 Conduit Street in London in 2000. The then Anglo Irish Bank helped finance the €8m purchase.

When Anglo was shut down, Deutsche Bank acquired the loan - believed to be in the "low, single-digit millions". The building has soared in value over the last 14 years, with one source suggesting it is worth "tens of millions". Another source said it was worth closer to €15m.

Two weeks ago, on September 18, Deutsche Bank sought repayment of this loan. It is understood that the loan was performing and had performed fully over the last 14 years. The property was not in negative equity.

Mulligan and Gay Byrne hired Dublin law firm Byrne Wallace to launch High Court proceedings against Deutsche Bank's London branch seeking an injunction. Legal documents seen by the Sunday Independent show that Byrne and Mulligan trading as the Conduit Partnership sought to restrain Deutsche Bank from "appointing a receiver over the property at 28/29 Conduit Street...or otherwise purporting to enforce its security over the said property." It also sought to prevent Deutsche Bank from "taking any step to enforce its security on foot of the purported letter of demand of 18 Sept 2014." Byrne and Mulligan also sought to serve proceedings on Fitzwilliam Loan Management - Deutsche's agents in Dublin. Conduit investors are advised by Glenrock Capital.

Sources have told the Sunday Independent that an agreement which may see the Deutsche Bank loans paid off from new borrowings from a third party is underway.

A spokesman for Conduit confirmed that the owners had sought and obtained an injunction against Deutsche Bank but had no further comment to make. Deutsche Bank did not comment.

Gay Byrne has spoken of how the recession trashed his pension and syndicated property investments forcing him to go back to work. Sources told the Sunday Independent that the Conduit Street building may have experienced "a substantial uplift in value" over the last 14 years.

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