AIB sues wife of Ivan Yates for €1.6m over loan she guaranteed
The wife of former government minister Ivan Yates is asking the High Court not to give a bank a summary judgment order against her for €1.6m.
The debt arises out of a guarantee Deirdre Yates gave on loans obtained from AIB to her husband for his Celtic Bookmakers business, which went into liquidation in 2011.
Mr Yates, who is now a radio broadcaster and a columnist with this newspaper, was later declared bankrupt in the UK, having lived for 16 months in Wales to qualify under that country's more relaxed bankruptcy laws.
AIB says that as Mrs Yates was a majority shareholder, director and company secretary of the bookmakers, it was entitled to recover from her €1.6m arising out of the single guarantee that she signed on her husband's debt.
Mrs Yates, a primary school teacher, claims that when she signed the guarantee she did not receive, and was not advised to receive, legal advice about the implications of doing so.
She was not aware that the family home in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, was at risk if there was a default on the loans.
AIB wants the court to grant summary judgment because it says that she has no defence to the claim.
She wants the matter to go to a full hearing so that the court can assess all the facts surrounding the matter.
Mr Justice Séamus Noonan has said he will rule this Friday.
Andrew Fitzpatrick BL, for AIB, said Ms Yates's claim that she did not understand her liability arising out of what she signed did not stand scrutiny.
The terms of the arrangements could not be more clearly explained and at no stage in three separate affidavits that she swore did she explain what understanding she actually had, he said.
In relation to her claim that she did not receive any legal advice, the very first paragraph of the document she signed stated that legal advice should be obtained, he said.
Brian Conroy BL, for Ms Yates, who was in court with her husband, said there should be a full hearing of all matters.
Her only income was as a schoolteacher and the bank already had charges against other fixed assets provided under the guarantee, he said.
There was €825,000 available to the bank from the sale of a property which went towards Mr Yates's UK bankruptcy and no credit had been given by AIB for that, counsel said.
While AIB said she had been advised in the documents to seek legal advice, that was not the same as, for example, asking that she provide a letter from a solicitor saying she had been so advised. The bank "did not take any proper steps to encourage her to take legal advice," he said.
Mr Fitzpatrick said AIB had not received the €825,000 from the UK trustee in bankruptcy but it would offset it against the overall debt if it did.