Business Irish

Sunday 28 May 2017

NAMA takes control of Mansfield's Isle of Man companies

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

NAMA has taken control of the two Isle of Man-based companies that sit at the top of Jim Mansfield's complicated group of holding companies and investments.

NAMA, Ireland's dump for toxic bank assets, appointed Kieran Wallace, a partner at KPMG, as receiver of the off-shore companies, called Dunbeg and Fanmore, as part of its swoop on the colourful businessman's assets.

Mr Wallace last week took charge of Mr Mansfield's Weston Airport, six of his apartment blocks at Citywest and his Palmerstown House Estate and golf course.

Now it has emerged that the Isle of Man companies were also netted in the swoop. The existence of the two off-shore holding companies was controversially revealed to stunned suppliers and business associates of Mr Mansfield when the company behind the Citywest hotel went into liquidation last January with debts of €192m.

Claims

The creditors, including around 100 small businesses -- some of which were owed hundreds of thousands of euro -- had no claims on Mr Mansfield's fortune even though his company had unlimited liability.

The revelation came when Tony Mansfield, a director of the company, told creditors that Citywest was ultimately owed by the off-shore companies.

Citywest, Weston Aerodrome and Palmerstown House are ultimately owned by the two Isle of Man companies. NAMA's action will give little comfort to smaller creditors, however, because they are still last in the queue for payment.

Unlimited company status also means that the companies in the Mansfield Group did not have to file detailed financial accounts with the Irish Companies Office, making it impossible for people doing business with them to ever know if they were trading with profitable partners.

The Isle of Man-based holding companies were also spared having to publish detailed sets of accounts because they had no direct employees.

There are now a plethora of banks and receivers jockeying for first dibs on the Mansfield assets.

Irish Independent

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