Saturday 1 October 2016

Bankrupt Stokes twins must hand over detailed list of property holdings

Published 26/03/2016 | 02:30

Christian and Simon Stokes
Christian and Simon Stokes

Celtic Tiger businessmen Simon and Christian Stokes have been told to appear in person at the High Court next month to hand over a detailed list of their individual property holdings.

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The identical twin brothers (41) ran the famous Bang restaurant in Dublin and were declared bankrupt in November last year.

The Stokes family was behind the well-known Unicorn restaurant in the capital, while the brothers operated the exclusive Residence club on St Stephen's Green and other venues.

But the economic downturn saw the ventures dramatically collapse.

The brothers ran a number of restaurants and bars, which were known high-profile hang-outs for millionaire developers and speculators during the property boom.

The High Court has said that it will hold statutory sittings on April 11 in relation to Christian and Simon Stokes's bankruptcies.

"The bankrupt is required to attend at this sitting and make full disclosure of his property to the court," according to official notices published this week in relation to the pair.

The notices add: "Creditors may at such sitting prove their debts and choose and appoint a Creditors' assignee. All persons having in their possession or under their control any money or other property of the Bankrupt should pay or deliver the same, and all debts due to the Bankrupt should be paid to the Official Assignee."

In 2014, Christian and Simon Stokes, as well as their parents Jeffrey and Pia, consented to a €14.7m judgment being entered against them arising from various loans and guarantees.

Dunbar Assets Ireland, formerly Zurich Bank, had claimed it was owed the money under what it described as the "Consolidated Stokes Facility", created following a restructuring in 2011 of various facilities dating from 2007, and from guarantees.

The case arose from facilities advanced by Zurich Bank to some or all of the defendants and, in relation to one facility, Missford Ltd, a company of the defendants, from 2007.

Borrowings

The facilities were initially secured against various properties, including the Unicorn Restaurant in Dublin; 'Mazemore', Torquay Road, Foxrock, Dublin; and the leasehold interest in the Residence club, St Stephen's Green, Dublin.

The facilities included €9m advanced to Jeffrey and Pia Bang Stokes in May 2007 to re-finance borrowings with Bank of Scotland Ireland.

That facility was secured over a number of commercial properties and the freehold property of 'Mazemore', Dunbar said.

A second facility of May 2007 was entered into with all four defendants for some €3.36m for the purpose of purchasing the 'Mazemore' property as a residential investment, Dunbar claimed.

Last year, Dunbar Asset Management petitioned the High Court to have Christian, Simon, Jeff and Pia Stokes declared bankrupt.

In January 2012, the High Court had barred Christian and Simon Stokes from being company directors again until 2016 following their involvement in the Residence club.

Justice Peter Kelly described them as "delinquent directors".

The judge said the pair had engaged in "a form of thieving" by using tax money to trade.

It was subsequently revealed that the Stokes twins continued to use their company expense accounts to go on lavish holidays and buy Gucci suits, even though their businesses were crumbling.

Irish Independent

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