Sunday 4 December 2016

Judge extends Priory Hall developer McFeely's bankruptcy until he is 71

Tim Healy

Published 02/06/2016 | 02:30

Thomas McFeely was found by the court to have failed to disclose an interest in 12 apartments Photo: National Pictures
Thomas McFeely was found by the court to have failed to disclose an interest in 12 apartments Photo: National Pictures

A High Court judge has expressed concern over "very grave" failures by Priory Hall developer Thomas McFeely to co-operate with the official administering his bankruptcy, including failures to disclose his interest in 12 apartments in Dublin.

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Ms Justice Caroline Costello said that McFeely's bankruptcy should be extended by almost the maximum five years, reduced by two months to take into account his age of 67.

The effect is that McFeely, whose bankruptcy was set to expire in July 2015, will now exit bankruptcy in May 2020 at the age of 71.

He was adjudicated bankrupt here in July 2012, with substantial debts, including €200m owed to Nama.

He had previously been adjudicated bankrupt in England and Wales - but that was rescinded after a woman owed €100,000 by companies of McFeely brought proceedings here.

McFeely, who was not in court for the judgment yesterday, had opposed as disproportionate and oppressive the extension sought by the official assignee in bankruptcy, Chris Lehane.

The judge upheld arguments by Bernard Dunleavy SC, for Mr Lehane, that the extent of non-co-operation justified the bankruptcy being extended.

Ms Justice Costello said the failure to disclose assets was on the "very grave" and "extreme end of the spectrum" and the extension should reflect that fact

In reality, McFeely had refused to co-operate in any meaningful way with his bankruptcy, she said.

McFeely's initial interview with Mr Lehane in August 2012 was, to McFeely's knowledge, "misleading", she said.

He gave his address as his late parents' home in Claudy, Co Derry, when he knew that he never resided there and did not intend to. He had also, she said, failed to disclose his interest in 12 properties.

He had also presented to Mr Lehane the statement of affairs which he had used for his English bankruptcy, when he knew that was incomplete, and continued thereafter to fail to co-operate with his bankruptcy.

McFeely also sought to "dictate" to Mr Lehane where he would be interviewed, insisting that Mr Lehane travel to Derry or pay him to travel to Dublin.

He had "greatly hindered" Mr Lehane in the administration of his estate and the effect was to severely prejudice the realisation of his estate for the benefit of his creditors, she said.

Irish Independent

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