Thursday 18 January 2018

AIB seeking to humiliate O'Reilly, court told

Businessman Tony O’Reilly is bedridden after back surgery
Businessman Tony O’Reilly is bedridden after back surgery

Tim Healy

A bank seeking to recover debts from bedridden businessman Tony O'Reilly wants to "humiliate and embarrass" him by requiring he swear a further statement as to his assets and liabilities, the Commercial Court has heard.

Bernard Dunleavy SC, for Mr O'Reilly, said it was "a disreputable application" and should be rejected.

However, Mr Justice Brian McGovern said he would require the 79-year-old, who recently underwent back surgery in New York, to swear a new affidavit by September 9 after the judge said there was nothing to stop him instructing lawyers and accountants to prepare the information.

The case arises out of AIB's efforts to recover monies owed to it by Mr O'Reilly following a €22.6m judgment entered against him last June in favour of the bank. His total indebtedness to AIB now stands at around €15m.

Mr Dunleavy said his client was confined to bed in New York, on round-the-clock painkillers and two medical reports presented to court had not been challenged by AIB.

The bank asked the court to order him to swear an affidavit within three weeks but Mr Justice McGovern said he would give him three months.

This was in circumstances where he has also instructed professionals in the Bahamas, where he has a home, to bring proceedings in relation to an application in the courts there for a personal insolvency arrangement to deal with his debts.

The Bahamian courts were yesterday due to hear an application on behalf of Mr O'Reilly for a stay on the appointment of a receiver over his assets, Mr Justice McGovern was told.

James Doherty, for AIB, said there was nothing to stop the Irish court making an order that he swear such an affidavit despite the Bahamian proceedings.

Mr Doherty said among the questions that needed to be answered was one about Mr O'Reilly's artworks, which were said to be worth €7.6m last year but were now said to be worth around €1.5m and secured in favour of another creditor.

It was simply a question of Mr O'Reilly "playing the game with the cards facing up on the table", he said.

Mr Doherty said he was merely seeking "to get to the bottom of a complex serious of transactions in various jurisdictions".

Irish Independent

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