Sunday 22 September 2019

Bank of Ireland faces legal challenge

Bank of Ireland headquarters
Bank of Ireland headquarters

Gretchen Friemann

Bank of Ireland faces a legal challenge to its move earlier this year to fold its private banking arm into the wider group.

Court documents show a directions hearing at the Court of Appeal will be held on December 15 at 11am.

Bank of Ireland's in-house merger took effect on September 1, following approval from the High Court. However, the decision faces an appeal by a former client of the private bank, John Kelly, who was involved in a property investment with the bank in 2006.

Mr Kelly's solicitors outlined 10 separate reasons for opposing the merger, including an allegation that the High Court judge had failed to give adequate weight to "the fact that there was no urgency in the application for the approval of the merger".

Prior to lodging his appeal, Mr Kelly was pursuing a separate case against Bank of Ireland Private, contesting a decision to sell his 4pc stake in a Swedish office block.

The building was bought by a syndicate of investors, assembled by Bank of Ireland Private, in 2006 for about €126m or 1.185bn Swedish Krona. In 2010, the property was sold for 40pc less to an international law firm. Royal Bank of Scotland held the mortgage over the office block.

Mr Kelly alleges Bank of Ireland needed unanimous investor support to sell the property and claims that he opposed the move.

Irish Independent

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