Thursday 23 October 2014

Hugh O'Regan restricted from acting as director for five years

Published 12/07/2012 | 05:00

ONE of Dublin's biggest and most high-profile publicans, Hugh O'Regan, has been restricted from acting as a company director for five years by the High Court.

It follows the collapse of a business empire that at its height included Dublin's Thomas Read pub groups and many of the capital's most fashionable haunts such as Pravda, the Bailey, Ron Black's, Searson's and Lincoln's Inn.

Morrison Hotel

As well as pubs, O'Regan developed the four-star Morrison Hotel in Dublin and had planned to develop the €10m Hibernian United Services Club on St Stephen's Green and the Kilternan Golf and Country Club close to Dublin city.

The empire was built on debt's of around €80m to Anglo Irish Bank, and €180m to Irish Nationwide Building Society.

Now Mr O'Regan has been restricted under Section 150 of the Companies Act, severely limiting his ability to act as a company director.

The restrictions follows a report into the collapse of the company that operated the Morrison Hotel that was sent to the office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement by Derek Erals, the liquidator appointed by the courts to wind up the business.

Documents just filed with the Companies Office show that following the report, Mr Regan has been restricted from acting as a director for five years, until May 2017.

While he can still act as a company director, the restriction means he will only be able to run a business under tight constraints.

These include having to have at least €63,000 in paid in capital in the business at all times.

Most companies in Ireland operate with paid in capital of as little as €2.

Restriction

A restriction can also affect an person's ability to run a business outside Ireland, while the public nature of the restriction means lenders and potential business associates are likely to be aware the order is in place.

It's the latest blow to the businessman who in the 1990s and 2000s revolutionised the Dublin leisure sector with high end venues that catered to an increasingly affluent clientele.

That all fell apart in 2009, when the collapse of many of his businesses into insolvency ultimately led to the High Court ordering Mr O'Regan to personally pay €37.5m to Anglo Irish Bank to honour guarantees he had given for company borrowing.

While Mr O'Regan lost control of his business empire three years ago, the high-end venues have continued to operate.

Earlier this year, Russia's wealthiest woman bought the Morrison from NAMA for more than €20m in one of the first hotel sales since the property crash.

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