News Courts

Thursday 18 September 2014

Disgraced Callely faces new battle over €11m property loans

Wife also named in legal proceedings

Shane Phelan Public Affairs Editor

Published 30/07/2014 | 02:30

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The home of Ivor Callely (inset) on St Lawrence's Road, Clontarf, Co Dublin.
The home of Ivor Callely (inset) on St Lawrence's Road, Clontarf, Co Dublin.

JAILED politician Ivor Callely is facing a fresh court battle after proceedings were initiated in the High Court which could restrict his ability to sell or transfer property.

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Investec, which secured an €11m judgment against the former junior minister last year, has initiated new proceedings against Callely and his wife Jennifer.

Details of the case emerged as the disgraced politician spent his second day behind bars. He is due to be moved to Wheatfield Prison in Dublin to serve out his sentence after an initial period being held in Mountjoy.

Papers have been filed by the specialist bank in the High Court giving notice of a 'lis pendens'. This is a legal notice indicating there is a pending lawsuit involving a property.

It effectively restricts a registered owner from selling a property as it puts potential buyers on notice that it may be the subject of litigation.

Investec has declined to comment on the details of the case.

A spokesman said: "As this involves ongoing litigation, we're not in a position to comment on it beyond confirming it is before the courts."

Separately, the Irish Independent has learned Callely transferred his home into the ownership of his estranged wife three years ago, a move which also had the effect of placing it beyond the reach of creditors.

Documents from the Registry of Deeds show that Callely transferred the ownership of his marital home in Clontarf, Dublin into his wife's name in May 2011. The transfer was previously unreported.

Jennifer Callely has hired a law firm to represent her in the Investec case. However, there is no indication Ivor Callely has done the same.

The litigation is likely to be delayed for several months as a result of Callely's jail term.

He will qualify for release in mid-November if he gets full remission on his sentence.

Sources close to the former politician say he has not considered appealing the length of his sentence.

Seaside

Investec secured an €11m judgment against Callely last July arising out of a March 2007 loan agreement.

That saw Callely and three business associates borrow €9.85m to buy two seaside properties in Clontarf, with a view to building apartments and shops.

However, the project ran into planning difficulties and never got off the ground.

The bank claimed all four were jointly and severally liable to repay the loan and accrued interest under that agreement. It means the bank can demand repayment of the full amount from any of the four involved.

Callely was jailed on Monday at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after pleading guilty to four counts of using invoices believing them to be false instruments between November 2007 and December 2009 while he was a member of the Seanad.

The invoices were used to claim over €4,000 worth of expenses under a mobile phone reimbursement scheme open to members of the Oireachtas.

Callely withdrew five of six claims he submitted and paid back most of the money after a journalist sought details of the payments in a Freedom of Information request in 2011.

However, gardai launched an investigation the following year. Callely denied any wrongdoing when taken into custody and only admitted to submitting bogus expenses when the case came to court.

Irish Independent

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