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Family hoping to learn fate next month

It has taken almost two months to hear all of the evidence in leading businessman Philip Lynch's family case against AIB and two firms of solicitors over a €25m loan.

At the end of this month, legal teams representing all sides will sum up the evidence for Judge Michael Peart who will then make a judgment on whether the family is liable or not to repay the €25m loan to the bank.

The One51 boss, his wife Eileen, their daughters Philippa, Judith and Therese, and son Paul, who have all given evidence, will be hoping to learn their fate possibly by the end of June. The family is claiming the loan they took out jointly with property developer Gerry Conlan in 2007 was on a non-recourse basis -- meaning they could not be personally pursued to repay the money if the deal turned sour.

They claim the bank was entitled to take the 86-acre site at Kilbarry, Waterford, they purchased with Mr Conlan to develop as a shopping and residential centre at the height of the property boom.

The land, that was once valued at as much as €80m is now said to be worth around €4m and the bank wants the family to repay their share of the loan as well as Mr Conlan's.

AIB is bringing separate but related proceedings against Mr Conlan.

In his evidence Mr Lynch said he could "never, ever" have exposed himself, his wife or children to such a huge potential debt. The land deal was supposed to make them all a fortune.

Once it was re-zoned and they got planning permission, the Lynch family expected to make as much as €19m. But that investment has turned into a financial nightmare.

Irish Independent