Tuesday 20 February 2018

Being bankrupt isn't all bad

THE Punt is a big fan of 'Vanity Fair' – we love the long reads it is renowned for.

This month's issue had a particularly interesting piece on the One Hyde Park apartment development in London and the discreet nature of its residents.

It is renowned as the most expensive property in the world, with flats selling for as much $214m (€166m).

Many are apparently owned by Arab sheikhs and business people from the former Soviet Union. It's hard to tell though because only 12 of the 80 or so apartments, replete with bullet-proof windows, panic rooms and silk wallpaper, are owned by private individuals. Most are owned instead by corporations based in tax havens.

One, in particular, stands out. As 'Vanity Fair' reports, Postlake – registered on the Isle of Man – owns a $5.6m apartment on the fourth floor. Postlake is in turn registered as owned by Purcey Ltd, a British Virgin Islands entity, registered as held on behalf of an Isle of Man trust set up by the bankrupt property developer Ray Grehan.

Mr Grehan was a key figure in the 'battle for Ballsbridge' during the boom, when land there was worth about €84m an acre. Declared bankrupt in the UK last year, he is being pursued for around €300m by NAMA.

Mr Grehan claims a family trust owns the Hyde Park apartment, not him. NAMA and the bankruptcy trustee, to put it mildly, disagree.

The Punt has never been bankrupt before, but our vision of such a state doesn't include having some access, however marginal, to a multimillion euro apartment.

If that is what bankruptcy is like, then sign us up.

Irish Independent

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