Tuesday 21 October 2014

Stokes family consent to judgment orders of €14.7m against them

Tim Healy

Published 29/07/2014 | 02:30

Simon Stokes. Pic: Collins
Simon Stokes. Pic: Collins
Pia Bang Stokes
Pia Bang Stokes

Businessman Jeffrey Stokes, his wife and son Simon have consented to €14.7m summary judgment orders being entered against them arising from various loans and guarantees.

The Commercial Court was told by Simon Stokes that his brother Christian was also prepared to consent to judgment.

The application against Christian, who was not in court yesterday, will be dealt with in September, Mr Justice Peter Kelly directed.

Dunbar Assets Ireland, formerly Zurich Bank, had claimed it was owed the €14.7m under what it described as the "Consolidated Stokes Facility", created following a restructuring in 2011 of various facilities dating from 2007, and from guarantees.

Hugh O'Flaherty BL, for Jeffrey and Pia Bang Stokes, Mill House, Enniskerry Road, Kilternan, Co Dublin, and Simon Stokes, representing himself, said they were prepared to consent to judgment but wanted a two-week stay on registration and execution.

Simon Stokes said he wanted an opportunity to engage with Dunbar about what happens after judgment is entered but was not disputing liability.

He added his brother Christian had asked that he, Simon, represent him in the matter.

Mr Justice Kelly said Christian Stokes could not, in law, be represented by his brother and must either represent himself or be represented by a solicitor and, in those circumstances the application for judgment against him would be adjourned.

Paul Fogarty BL, for Dunbar, said it was prepared to agree to a two-week stay as sought by the defendants.

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.

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 €9.02m 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.

Investment

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 claims.

This loan was for commercial purposes in the context of a stated intention of the defendants to rent the property for short-term lettings, it is claimed.

The third facility was provided to Missford Ltd, a company of Simon and Christian Stokes, in connection with the Residence members club in Dublin which was operated by them prior to its being placed in receivership, Dunbar claims.

As part of a restructuring process, Dunbar claims it was agreed in March 2011 to advance or continue a facility in a €14.4m sum, made up of the three facilities as restructured.

The new Consolidated Stokes Facility altered the liability in providing that Christian and Simon Stokes would become borrowers in relation to the May 2007 loan advanced to their parents. Pia Bang Stokes would then become a borrower in relation to the liability previously undertaken by her husband and sons concerning Missford's liabilities.

Irish Independent

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