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Thursday 21 September 2017

Bank gets go-ahead to pursue Cullen's €8m debt at his home

IB BILL CULLEN INTERVIEW 7.jpg
IB BILL CULLEN INTERVIEW 7.jpg

Tim Healy and Breda Heffernan

A BANK owed more than €8m by car dealer and television star Bill Cullen has been given permission by the courts to serve notice of their claim on him at his home.

It comes after Danske Bank made four unsuccessful attempts to serve a notice of the proceedings on Mr Cullen in person.

Ross Fanning, counsel for Danske Bank, told Mr Justice Peter Kelly in the Commercial Court that it was now seeking an order to allow service by ordinary post at Mr Cullen's home, Oberstown House, Sallins, Co Kildare. The request was granted.

The bank claims that Mr Cullen, who is Ireland's best-known car dealer and is the former star of TV3's 'The Apprentice', owes it over €8.2m in unpaid loans.

In August the 'Penny Apples' author lost the exclusive rights to sell Renault-brand cars in Ireland. It was another blow for the businessman who had held the lucrative rights for more than 20 years until 2007 when the French company took back control of distribution.

During the summer, the motor industry veteran was forced to close two of his four dealerships in counties Galway and Clare, with 29 jobs lost.

Earlier this month, employees at Mr Cullen's Glencullen Holdings which runs car dealerships at Airside in Swords and Liffey Valley, both in Dublin, were told that Ulster Bank had appointed receivers to the company to secure its loans of an estimated €12m.

Mr Cullen is the biggest creditor of Glencullen and is owed almost €20m.

The company's latest accounts show Mr Cullen also provided a letter of guarantee of €1.2m as security for the loans as well as the assignment of a life assurance policy.

Dramatic

Mr Cullen retains control of the Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney, which he co-owns with his partner Jackie Lavin.

According to company accounts, the couple have pumped almost €10m into their five-star hotel to support the loss-making business.

However, Ms Lavin has said 2012 has seen a "dramatic turnaround" in the business.

Irish Independent

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