Bank gets €7.9m order against ex-hurling star
'Egg fraud' trial sparked demand
Published 29/01/2010 | 05:00
BANK of Ireland has secured a €7.9m judgment against a former Galway hurling star facing trial in Britain in connection with an alleged multi-million euro fraud involving the supply of eggs.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday granted the €7.9m order against Pearse Piggott (48) and his wife, Noelle, of Ballyglennon, Gort, Co Galway. The judgment orders were not contested.
Mr Piggott played in the All-Ireland senior hurling final in 1986 when Galway lost to Cork, but secured a winners' medal 12 months later as a substitute when his team defeated Kilkenny in the final. He was also a selector for the Galway senior hurling team.
British authorities last year sought the extradition of Mr Piggott, who runs the egg distribution firm Pearse Piggott & Sons, over his alleged involvement in a fraud between 2004 and late 2007, when eggs from caged hens were passed off to British consumers as free range or organic.
Mr Piggott, who denied the charges against him, including conspiracy to defraud, consented to his extradition, and his trial and that of others related to the alleged fraud, has been adjourned to March next.
It is alleged production numbers on eggs were altered, the names of the suppliers were incorrect and the fraud netted a £1.59m (€1.8m) profit.
Bank of Ireland sought the €7.9m judgment in relation to loans advanced to the couple between February 2006 and November 2007 to restructure existing loans, purchase a pub and adjoining investment property, and to invest in residential and industrial property.
The bank claimed the defendants agreed in January 2009 to repay all the money by April 30, 2009, with a series of staged payments before that date.
The loan was not cleared by April 2009, but the bank agreed to continue its lending facility provided interest was paid. By June 2009, €25,000 was paid
The bank learned from media reports on June 11, 2009, that the British revenue authorities were seeking the extradition of Mr Piggott over his alleged involvement in an egg fraud.
The bank told the defendants they had 21 days to arrange payment of their loans and then, in August 2009, demanded immediate repayment.
Last October, Mr Piggott put proposals to the bank and paid €12,000. But then the bank advised the defendants' solicitors it was issuing proceedings seeking the €7.9m judgment.