Sunday 24 September 2017

€19.4m debt means bank has first call on Wallace salary

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

INDEPENDENT TD Mick Wallace's plan to use half of his Dail salary to pay back his company's €2.1m tax settlement was thrown into fresh doubt last night.

His ability to repay the money to the Revenue could be hampered by the fact that he has given personal guarantees to ACC Bank on five loans taken out by his construction company.

It means that ACC Bank has first call on the Wexford TD's annual salary of €92,000 after it secured a €19.4m judgment against his M&J Wallace company last year.

Last night, an insolvency expert told the Irish Independent that the bank in this situation would be entitled to go to court to seek a share of Mr Wallace's salary.

"You can get an attachment order on either a bank account or on future earnings," he said.

So far, ACC has not sought such an order but has instead decided to register judgment mortgages against 23 of the properties owned by Mr Wallace and his company.

Outrage

It means that none of the properties -- which include his home in Clontarf in Dublin -- can be sold until the bank's debts are paid back. ACC Bank could not be contacted last night.

The Revenue has no claim on Mr Wallace's Dail salary but he made the gesture voluntarily in the wake of public outrage over his company's failure to pay the €2.1m tax settlement with the Revenue.

Mr Wallace is also facing questions about the transfer of his Italian villa and vineyard to his brother Joseph to settle a €500,000 debt for building supplies.

He made the transfer in 2009 -- a year before he admitted to the Revenue that his construction company had wrongly withheld €1.4m in VAT.

He had said previously that he had offered the villa and vineyard to other people to whom he owed money.

Joseph Wallace runs a hardware store, a supermarket, a petrol station and a farming supplies store with family members in Wellingtonbridge in Wexford.

He could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

The Revenue would have had no claim on the villa and vineyard located in the Langhe Hills in the Piedmont wine-making region of Italy -- because it was personally owned by Mr Wallace rather than his company.

Documents from the Registry of Deeds show details of the people who bought apartments in the Behan Square complex on the North Circular Road in Dublin in 2008 and 2009.

Mr Wallace withheld €1.4m in VAT on property sales from the Revenue during this period because his company was in financial difficulty.

One of the purchasers of an apartment in Behan Square was Irish soccer star Kevin Doyle, who developed his skills with Mr Wallace's Wexford Youths team.

The Wolves striker took out a mortgage with ACC Bank in July 2008.

Other apartments in Behan Square were sold to members of Mr Wallace's family, such as his former wife Mary Murphy Wallace, his sister Christina Harpur and his son Sasha.

Censure

The Dail committee on members' interests is still waiting for Mr Wallace to give the Revenue permission to release the files on the case.

It is due to meet again this week and a motion of censure may still be brought against Mr Wallace in the Dail.

Mr Wallace could not be contacted for comment.

Irish Independent

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