Saturday 1 October 2016

Dragons' Den star Newman is bankrupt

Tim Healy

Published 04/03/2016 | 02:30

Sarah Newman
Sarah Newman
The opulent Chalet Grace in Zermatt, Switzerland, once owned by Sarah Newman and DJ Carey
Sarah Newman and DJ Carey Photo: Brian McEvoy

Former Dragons' Den star Sarah Newman will be debt free within a year, after she was declared bankrupt in the UK.

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The businesswoman was due to appear before Dublin's Commercial Court yesterday as part of an ongoing case taken by AIB when the revelation was made.

The hearing was part of AIB Mortgage Bank's efforts to recover a €9m judgment obtained in 2011 against Ms Newman and her former partner, hurling legend DJ Carey.

But in light of the fact she was recently declared bankrupt in the UK, the bank would not proceed with the cross-examination, AIB's junior counsel James Doherty said.

UK Insolvency Service documents list the former dotcom millionaire as being "unemployed".

The documents list her current address in Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk, but note a previous address in Monkstown, Co Dublin.

Newman sold her Monkstown mansion in 2012 and also sold the stunning Swiss property Chalet Grace at the foot of the Matterhorn which could accommodate 14 people.

The chalet was finished in 2010 and put on the market for €12.1m. It is not clear for what price it finally sold.

The documents confirm that Ms Newman was made bankrupt in February this year. "Automatic discharge will be 26 February 2017," they state.

Yesterday in the High Court in Dublin Hugh O'Flaherty BL, for Ms Newman, said any further court applications would be brought via the UK official receiver's office.

In the circumstances, Mr Justice Brian McGovern struck out, on consent of both sides, the application for cross-examination.

A statement last night said: "Sarah has disposed of all her assets to reimburse the banks - however, there is still a significant shortfall.

"Despite every effort to avoid this outcome Sarah has taken this step."

AIB had brought the application after alleging Ms Newman, a mother of two, was not sufficiently engaging with it in relation to meeting her liabilities.

Question

Following the sale of properties and some repayments, the bank claimed almost €6.4m was still outstanding. The bank wanted to question Ms Newman about any other debts of hers. Judgment for €9.5m was entered against Mr Carey partly arising from a €7.85m mortgage in April 2007.

This had been part of a wider commercial transaction involving him and associated businesses to refinance existing debt due to Irish Nationwide Building Society.

In addition, the judgment included a guarantee of up to €1.5m on Ms Newman's debt.

The bank said €8m was due from Mr Carey under the mortgage account and another €1.5m under the guarantee.

Judgment for about €9.4m was granted against Ms Newman arising from a guarantee of €7.85m she had given on Mr Carey's loan and under a €1.5m mortgage secured on a property in Co Kildare.

On March 7, 2011, the bank wrote to Ms Newman stating Mr Carey was in breach of his loan obligations and demanded immediate payment of €7.875m plus daily interest, under the guarantee provided by her.

Irish Independent

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