Monday 22 December 2014

Cullen tells court there's 'no doubt' he'll clear €11.5m debt owed to Ulster Bank

Tim Healy

Published 22/07/2014 | 02:30

Businessman Bill Cullen
Businessman Bill Cullen
Jackie Lavin

Businessman Bill Cullen has said there is "no doubt" his €11.5m debt to Ulster Bank will be cleared.

He also told the Commercial Court that he became "so irritated" over the approach of Ulster Bank-appointed receivers in selling assets of his companies that he decided to take legal proceedings.

Mr Cullen, representing himself, said the receivers have reached agreements for the sale of some five properties for €8.3m. There was another eight to be sold and it was "clear" the bank would get its money, he said.

His "real target" in the case he has brought is the bank and its receivers and he "might not have got the best advice" in joining more than 20 other parties as defendants, he said. This included companies, individual solicitors and estate agents acting in the intended sales, he told Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

He needed time to get the legal documents together for his case and perhaps seek legal representation, he said. He was concerned the sales were depriving him of monies to which he was entitled and could use for his business.

Mr Cullen, accompanied by his partner Jackie Lavin, was in court to respond to an application on behalf of Ulster Bank Ireland, its receivers and its solicitors, Arthur Cox, for Mr Cullen's case to be fast-tracked in the Commercial Court.

In his case, he wants declarations that he has an interest in a number of lands and properties over which receivers were appointed by Ulster Bank in 2012 and 2013, including properties in counties Dublin, Wexford, Clare, Kerry, Laois and Wicklow.

Breaches

He wants declarations that the appointment of receivers in that regard are null and void and has also alleged breaches of Central Bank and Consumer Protection Codes.

Mr Justice Kelly said he was satisfied the case was urgent and would transfer it to the Commercial Court which it will come back to in October.

Earlier, moving the fast-track application, Bernard Dunleavy BL, for the bank, the receivers, Arthur Cox and for individual partners and solicitors of that firm, also listed as defendants, said it was urgent as it was delaying intended sales of properties.

Mr Dunleavy said his side were also very concerned about the "bald" and "wide-ranging" allegations of professional misconduct made against professionals. Those claims were taken very seriously and an affidavit had been sworn rejecting them.

Mr Cullen had registered several lis pendens notices (notification of pending litigation) over a range of properties in which he was claiming to have a beneficial interest. He was claiming an interest in some 13 parcels of lands over which joint receivers have been appointed and has registered lis pendens over those, Mr Dunleavy said.

After Mr Cullen indicated his real difficulty was with the bank and receivers, Mr Dunleavy said if the case was withdrawn against the Arthur Cox firm, partners and solicitors, there may be no costs implications for Mr Cullen arising from his having included those parties as defendants.

Irish Independent

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