Friday 9 December 2016

Bank targets Sarah's €10.5m Swiss chalet

Family home also at risk over €9.5m debt

Donal O'Donovan, Tim Healy and Luke Byrne

Published 10/05/2011 | 05:00

The chalet in Switzerland purchased by Sarah Newman
The chalet is located in Zermatt, Switzerland
Sarah Newman was visibly upset when pictured at the home she shares with former Kilkenny hurler DJ Carey on Monkstown, Dublin on Monday
The home Newman and Carey share in Alma Road, Monkstown, Co Dublin
The Inch property at Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny
Sarah Newman and DJ Carey on holiday

SARAH Newman, the partner of legendary hurler DJ Carey, faces losing her trophy €10.5m Swiss chalet following the collapse of the couple's multi-million euro property empire.

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The couple also risk losing their exclusive family home in Monkstown, Co Dublin, after they were ordered to repay a €9.5m bank loan.

AIB revealed in court yesterday it wanted to move against the Swiss property, a stunning chalet in an upmarket Alpine resort which is on the market for €10.5m.

This would be enough to pay off the couple's debts.

However, AIB said it was worried it would not be able to take ownership of the property -- solely owned by Ms Newman -- because it was outside the State. It is also not known what other debt may have been secured against the Swiss property.

Ms Newman refused to comment on the court judgment last night.

"I won't be making any statements," she told the Irish Independent at her family home.

The former star of RTE's 'Dragons' Den' said Mr Carey was "away".

The latest crisis for the couple comes after they fell behind on massive mortgages on investment properties they bought at upmarket golf resorts, the K Club and Mount Juliet.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly granted judgment to AIB for more than €9.5m against the couple in the Commercial Court.

At the heart of the case are mortgages taken out in 2007 and secured against three properties -- No 908 Ladycastle, The K Club, Co Kildare; No 821 Ladycastle, The K Club; and No 5 The Inch, Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny.

In order to borrow such huge sums, the couple entered into a complicated loan arrangement with AIB. Mr Carey borrowed €7.85m against two of the properties and signed a personal guarantee agreeing to pay back €1.5m borrowed by Ms Newman against the third property.

Ms Newman borrowed the €1.5m in her own name and signed personal guarantees for Mr Carey's €7.85m loan.

The court was told the mortgage arrears owed to AIB were modest, but the bank had got no response from Mr Carey after the loans fell into arrears.

The couple were not present in court, but a solicitor consented to the order on their behalf. The court gave the five-time All-Ireland winner four weeks to try to come up with a solution before the bank can move against him.

However, Justice Kelly refused to allow similar breathing space for Ms Newman after being told by AIB it may be able to recover some of the money owed if it successfully moved against the Swiss property.

The scale of their financial problems means the couple's family home is at risk if the debt can't be repaid.

Wealthy

There is nothing in Irish law to stop banks taking a charge on any property and even applying to court to force the sale of a family home if it can help to settle a debt.

The couple live on Alma Road in the wealthy Dublin suburb of Monkstown, where homes are on the market for as much as €1.9m despite the property crash.

Mr Carey and Ms Newman's fortunes have suffered a major turnaround in recent years. Three months ago their contract cleaning business collapsed into liquidation.

Ms Newman had enjoyed major business success in the past. An internet hotel booking company she founded was snapped up by global rival Cedant Corp in 2006.

The deal valued the company, Needahotel.com, at about €60m when it was sold. However, the Irish Independent has learnt the amount ultimately paid for the company was far lower than the initial valuation.

Needahotel was reportedly sold for €30m in cash with the rest only to be paid if targets were met after the deal closed.

US documents show the buyers believed as early as June 2006 that the targets would never be met.

Irish Independent

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