Tuesday 23 May 2017

Odyssey developer’s stand-off with IBRC

Belfast businessman obtained material for case he is taking against the former Anglo Irish Bank

Property developer Peter Curistan
Property developer Peter Curistan
SHOWDOWN: IBRC Special liquidator Kieran Wallace is set to lock horns with developer Peter Curistan
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

The IBRC Special Liquidator is locked in a tense stand-off with a Belfast businessman who is threatening to send confidential documents relating to his dealings with them to the IBRC Commission of Investigation, the Dail's Public Accounts Committee and several other investigative agencies north and south of the border.

Lawyers for the IBRC have warned property developer Peter Curistan he will be in contempt of court if he forwards information he obtained as part of the discovery process in court proceedings he has taken against the former Anglo Irish Bank.

While the Sunday Independent isn't privy to the content of the documents, Mr Curistan has informed the bank's lawyers at Arthur Cox that he is considering their release in the coming weeks to six other agencies besides the IBRC Commission of Investigation and the PAC.

The agencies in question are: the PSNI, An Garda Siochana, the UK's National Crime Agency, the Northern Ireland Assembly's Stormont Finance Committee, as well as the Law Society both here and in Northern Ireland.

The businessman - who is best known as the developer of Belfast's Odyssey Arena - says he is considering sending the material so that the "IBRC's activities and that of its agents should be exposed, examined and scrutinised in detail".

Asked what steps would be taken in the event that Mr Curistan decides to forward the material to the various agencies, a spokesman for the IBRC's special liquidator declined to comment.

It is clear the matter is being treated seriously by the bank judging by the latest correspondence sent by the IBRC's lawyers, Arthur Cox, to the businessman last Wednesday.

They wrote: "The reply to the effect that you will not release the discovery documentation for a 'period of three weeks' is not understood. We are also aware that you have recently contacted journalists to inform them that you intend to release documentation."

They reminded Mr Curistan of an undertaking he had given in court not to use the documents in his possession for anything other his pursuit of his case against the former Anglo Irish Bank.

On July 10 last, Mr Curistan made his position on that clear in a letter to the IBRC's lawyers, where he said that having considered the matter further, he did not believe he had given an "explicit undertaking" to the High Court not to use the material provided in discovery for any purpose other than the [legal] proceedings".

In earlier correspondence to the businessman on June 11 last, IBRC's lawyers accused him of having given documents obtained under discovery to the Independent TD Mattie McGrath and to the online publication, Broadsheet.ie.

Mr Curistan strongly denied that allegation.

Responding to Arthur Cox on June 29 last, he said he took "great offence" at the "unfounded allegations" being made against him and demanded an unqualified apology from Arthur Cox and the IBRC.

To date, no such apology has been given.

The documents at the heart of Mr Curistan's dispute with the IBRC had been provided to him for the purposes of his Supreme Court challenge to the decision of High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Charleton in 2012 to grant a judgment of €11.08m against him and two of his companies, Cambourne Investments Inc and Century City.

Mr Curistan is also pursuing a claim for €60m in damages against the former Anglo Irish Bank.

As part of his case, the developer has alleged the bank acted improperly in the manner in which it sought to sell the Odyssey Arena and complex, and that it tried to disadvantage him.

Sunday Independent

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News