Monday 14 October 2019

Court stay on Anglo share valuation after McKillen concerns

Developer Paddy McKillen
Developer Paddy McKillen

Tim Healy

Developer Paddy McKillen claims he has not been given an adequate opportunity to respond to a process where an assessor has been asked to come up with a valuation for the former Anglo Irish Bank.

Mr McKillen, who was a substantial shareholder in Anglo, was yesterday given leave by the High Court to bring judicial review proceedings over the short timescale the developer was given to respond to the role of the assessor in determining compensation for Anglo shareholders.

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At the time of nationalisation in January 2009, shares had a "hope value" of 22 cent but the Government decided to defer appointing someone to assess the actual valuation until later.

It was not until February last that regulations were published under which the newly appointed assessor was to carry out his work, the court heard. The court also granted a stay on the assessor, David Tynan of PwC, publishing his final report for the Finance Minister pending determination or the legal proceedings, or further order.

Mr McKillen's counsel, Jack Tchrakian, said his client was concerned he was given the minimal amount of time in which to make submissions to the assessor. Under the Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Act in 2009, the Government provided for the extinguishment of certain rights in the bank, removal of certain people from office and payment of compensation for shareholders.

Mr Tchrakian said it was nearly 10 years before the assessor was appointed. It was his client's concern there was "a degree of vagueness" about how the assessment is to be carried out - eg it is not stated whether it will be based on net shareholdings or liabilities.

Under the process, counsel said, shareholders can make submissions after which the assessor publishes a draft report which is then circulated to those who made submissions before the assessor does a final valuation report.

Mr McKillen only learned of the matter in March. He asked for more time to make submissions and was given an extension to April 30. Mr McKillen has two of his own experts, economics professor Constantin Gurdgiev and ex-AIB director Bernard Somers, who are currently involved in "scoping out" the terms of reference.

The legislation involved in this case has a significant impact on property rights which must be protected by the State and for which a citizen has a right to make submissions within a reasonable amount of time, counsel said.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan was satisfied to grant leave to bring the challenge against Mr Tynan and to place a stay on the publication of the final valuation report. He gave Mr Tynan liberty to apply to the court to vary the order with 48 hours notice to Mr McKillen as the application as made on an ex parte basis. The judge said his stay order was not intended to stop Mr Tynan's work but only to prevent the final report pending determination of the case. The case comes back in October.

Irish Independent

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