independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

London-based firm owned by Fingleton Jr goes into liquidation

Company owes debt to a surveillance business

CREDITORS: Fingleton Jr's firm had liabilities of £244,000

A London company owned by Michael Fingleton junior, the son of the former Irish Nationwide chief executive, has gone into liquidation, owing money to a private security and counter surveillance firm.

Spearpoint Risk Management, owned by Mr Fingleton jnr, with an address at 41 Whitehall, was itself described in Companies Office filings as involved in security systems activities. It had assets of just £22,000 (€26,214) but liabilities of £244,000 when a liquidator was appointed.

The biggest creditor was a property development company called Concept Business Group (CBG), which is owned by London-based Greek developer Nicholas Trimmatis. CBG was owed £154,000 by Mr Fingleton's company.

Trimmatis developed a luxury apartment complex at Beaufort Gardens in West London, with apartments selling for between £3.5m and £13m. He also owned the five-star boutique Parkes Hotel in London, located near Harrods, until he sold it this year, for an estimated £5m.

The British revenue were owed £66,000, while another company owned by Mr Fingleton, Hibernian Capital, was owed £15,000. A private security services firm, which also provides counter surveillance, was owed £5,725. Securisys Holdings was located in the same building as Spearpoint and provided a range of security activities.

Its website said: "In today's world, the security of sensitive information and data has never come under a more sustained threat. Whether at a corporate or private level, computer or phone hacking, cyber attacks, wiretaps and bugging are an all too common occurrence."

Securisys offers a "discreet, highly specified service which combines technology and the highest standard of training to prevent or detect interception of sensitive, classified, personal or private information".

One of its directors was Andrew Hargreaves a former senior executive with defence corporation EADS. However, Securisys Holdings was dissolved earlier this year.

After leaving Irish Nationwide, Mr Fingleton set up a property consultancy and investment company called Hibernian Capital.

It has leased an office block in Surrey to car manufacturer Kia Motors for the next 15 years. This building, PGS Court, was at one time owned by developer Sean Dunne.

However, Mr Fingleton's Hibernian Capital has been described as the landlord of the property, and his name appears on planning application documents lodged with Elmbridge Borough Council.

He has denied having any role in the PGS Court transaction "financially or otherwise".

Last year, the Irish Independent revealed that Michael Fingleton Snr transferred a total of €608,498 to his son Michael's London bank account from two accounts in Montenegro. Just weeks earlier, the 74-year-old former building society boss had transferred €500,000 to an offshore account in the Eastern European country, days after he was hit with a €13.6m debt order by Ulster Bank.

Fingleton junior first hit the headlines in 2008, when in the wake of the state bank guarantee, he was touting for deposit business for Irish Nationwide in the UK, in a way that led to a fine for the society.

Together with another former executive, Gary McCollum, Fingleton junior oversaw a £5bn property loan book in the UK and Europe. The losses to the State on these loans are likely to amount to around €3bn.

It later emerged that McCollum and Fingleton junior were the only two lenders in the UK division which lent out all this money.

McCollum was based in Belfast and Fingleton junior was based in London.

McCollum left the society and went on to set up a property investment and consultancy business in the North called GMAX Capital Ltd. This firm was backed by two former clients of Irish Nationwide who invested in shares in the business.

The UK operation at Irish Nationwide came in for considerable criticism when forensic accountants examined the way it was run. Poor corporate governance standards applied in relation to multi-million euro loans.

Sunday Independent

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