Irish head North to avail of less punitive bankruptcy laws
Published 22/12/2011 | 05:00
SEAN Quinn isn't the only Irish businessman destroyed by the near collapse of the Irish economy to seek bankruptcy in the UK this year.
Bankruptcy claims in Northern Ireland have increased by an estimated 43pc in 2011 as scores of Irish relocated north of the border to avail of less strict legislation.
Once the richest man in Ireland, Mr Quinn has claimed that some 80pc of his tax is paid to the UK government and he holds a British national insurance number.
A ruling is expected in the case early next year but many wonder why the former tycoon didn't relocate to Northern Ireland or mainland Britain earlier to avoid doubts over where his 'centre of main interests' (COMI) is.
Once all the criteria are met in the UK, it's possible to write off all Irish debt and be released from bankruptcy after a year.
Currently the same process can result in remaining in bankruptcy for 12 years in the Republic of Ireland -- though that length of time is expected to be shortened to three by the end of March 2012.
IrishBankruptcyUK helps Irish citizens who wish to avail of the British system, and it's understood clients are contacting them in high numbers.
To be eligible to apply for bankruptcy in the UK you must prove you've been living there for at least six months, and many Irish people are renting across London and other parts of the country just so they can qualify.
Utility bills, bank statements and credit card receipts are often required to certify a claimant's COMI has been in the UK for the last six months.
Within a year, Irish people who owe huge debts can have them written off in the UK before starting again -- be it in Britain or Ireland.