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AIB owed €6m while Revenue left waiting for €200,000 debt

IVAN Yates's Celtic Bookmakers owes €6m to AIB and a further €200,000 to the Revenue Commissioners. Trade creditors, including landlords, are also in the queue to be repaid out of the receivership.

AIB is the only bank owed by Celtic and is by far the biggest creditor.

Of the €6m owed to the bank €5.1m is backed by a personal guarantee in Mr Yates's name.

It means, as seems likely, that if the €5.1m is not repaid from the bank's share of a sale of the company, then all of Mr Yates's assets, including the family farm and a house he built for his mother, are liable.

According to the former minister, AIB may even be able to take his generous ministerial pension until the €5.1m is honoured in full -- though he will have to agree to that move.

Mr Yates was born and remains resident at a farm at Blackstoops, just outside Enniscorthy in Co Wexford. Sources confirmed the farm was 160 acres.

Half is owned outright by Mr Yates -- it was listed at 83 acres in 2002 on the Dail Register of Members' Interests -- while his mother has a life interest in the other half but that will ultimately revert to Mr Yates.

Based on a current price of around €10,000 per acre for agricultural land that would value the entire farm at €1.6m, excluding Mr Yates home and a house built for his mother on the land.

Those two properties would boost the likely total value to more than €2m.

Local sources said the land, which is close to Enniscorthy, may have development potential which could boost the price further, though in the current climate valuing the farm as agricultural is probably closer to the mark.

The 2002 entry in the Register of Members' Interests includes another possibly significant note.

In his entry Mr Yates said that his mother, Mary Yates, retained a life interest in a residence and land at Blackstoops.

That would not stop the former minster or his creditors selling the property but any new owner could not actually take occupation without her consent.

In most corporate bankruptcies limited liability rules mean only the assets of a company, not its owners, can be seized to settle debts.

The personal guarantee changes that dynamic giving the bank security over all of the borrower's assets.

Last night receiver Neil Hughes was getting to grips with the rest of the group's debt.

A source involved in the case confirmed that the Revenue Commissioners were the second biggest creditor after the bank. Smaller amounts are also owed to trade creditors including landlords of the chain's 47 betting shops in Ireland and other suppliers.

The personal guarantee does not extend beyond the AIB loans. However, Celtic Bookmakers' two betting shops in South Wales, which do not fall under the receivership, are now on the market and any money raised will ultimately be channelled to creditors.

Irish Independent