Monday 18 December 2017

Businessman trying to frustrate €6.9m judgment, court told

Charlefort took over Danske's legal proceedings against Mr Meagher aimed at enforcing the €6.9m judgment against him.
Charlefort took over Danske's legal proceedings against Mr Meagher aimed at enforcing the €6.9m judgment against him.

Tim Healy

A BUSINESSMAN has allegedly tried to frustrate the enforcement of a €6.9m judgment obtained against him three years ago by fraudulently transferring properties which could be used to satisfy the debt, it was claimed in the Commercial Court.

John Meagher, who owned the properties in Dublin's Charlemont Street, is still their beneficial owner because he provided money to a man to buy them in a rushed off-market transaction before a bank moved against Mr Meagher over his debt, it claimed.

Charlefort Investments Ltd, which is part of property developers the Clancourt Group, says in December 2014, one of its related companies took legal assignment of the €6.9m judgment obtained against Mr Meagher by Danske Bank in February 2013.

Danske had appointed a receiver over Mr Meagher's assets and the receiver took possession of 4-8 Lower Charlemont Street which were then acquired by Charlefort. Charlefort also took over Danske's legal proceedings against Mr Meagher aimed at enforcing the €6.9m judgment against him.

Charlefort wants to acquire adjoining properties, numbers 2-4A, which Mr Meagher owned, or still beneficially owns. However, he has transferred ownership of it with the intention of defrauding his creditors, in particular Charlefort, it is alleged.

Numbers 2-4A are together worth more than €1m, Clancourt's chief executive Conor Kenny says in an affidavit.

Mr Kenny believes Mr Meagher is still the beneficial owner of the adjoining properties and seeks a declaration from the court that this is the case so the judgment can be enforced against him.

He says Mr Meagher directly or indirectly provided monies to Tobias Joni, whose address is Charlemont Street, to buy two of the three properties (no 2 and 3), in what was a fraudulent conveyance. They were then transferred to a company called Tulipcove, of which Mr Joni was the sole member.

Multiple attempts to get Mr Joni to court to cross-examine him about these matters were not successful, showing "an apparent desire on his (Joni's) part to evade service" and frustrate attempts to ascertain whether he disputes that he holds ownership in trustee for Mr Meagher, Mr Kenny says.

Ownership of the third property (4A), is not clear at the moment, but it was one of a number offerred to the Clancourt Group for sale in 2007 by Mr Meagher.

Charlefort is seeking declarations and injunctions preventing Mr Meagher, Mr Joni and Tulipcove, from dealing in or selling the three properties.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern, on the application of Paul Gadiner SC, for Charlefort, admitted the case against the three defendants to the Commercial Court list. Mr Gardiner said his client believes the transfer of the properties was done "for the purpose of frustrating the judgment".

The judge also admitted to the court a related case, concerning shares in a company which owns a fourth Charlemont Street property, number 4B.

This, it is claimed, is the sole asset of a company, Car Tailors Ltd, in which Mr Meagher transferred his entire shareholding in 2010 to Angela Dillon, Offington Court, Sutton, Dublin, and Stefan Antal, with addresses at Harold's Cross Road, and Mornington Road, both Dublin.

A solicitor representing Ms Dillon and the company objected to the matter being entered into the commercial list claiming it was not a genuine business case and because of delay in bringing the proceedings.

Mr Justice McGovern said he was satisfied to admit it to the list as it related to €6.9m enforcement proceedings and after finding there was no culpable delay.

He also granted an injunction preventing Mr Antal, who was not represented, from disposing of or otherwise dealing with the share capital in Car Tailors.

A similar injunction application against Ms Dillon was adjourned for hearing later.

In the number 4B proceedings, also brought by Charlefort, the company wants the transferred shareholding in Car Tailors to be charged against Mr Meagher's debt.

Irish Independent

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