Fingleton fights bid to fast-track €13m debt case
FORMER Irish Nationwide Building Society chairman Michael Fingleton is among four people fighting a move to fast-track a legal action against them over €13.5m of unpaid property loans.
Ulster Bank has brought the case against Mr Fingleton, Liskillen, Shankill, Dublin; Senator Francis O'Brien, Corwillan, Latton, Castleblayney, Monaghan; and two property developers, Noel Mulligan, Moyles, Castleshane; and Charles McGuinness, Tully House, both Monaghan.
The case relates to an alleged €13.2m loan facility of July 2006 advanced to the four to purchase a site at Swellan Upper and Lower, Farnham Road, Cavan. The loan was secured on the site and Ulster Bank claims the facility was repayable on demand at all times.
The bank says it agreed in June 2008 to increase the loan facility so as to provide for an interest roll-up and that, in June last, the amount outstanding was €13.5m. While it had since met with the defendants and had received a number of proposals, none of those proposals were acceptable, Ted Mahon, a manager at Ulster Bank Group Centre, said in an affidavit.
The four defendants yesterday opposed the bank's application to have the case transferred to the Commercial Court, which fast-tracks business disputes.
Rossa Fanning, counsel for Mr Fingleton, said the bank's own loan documents stated the bank would continue the facility just until December 2008. While documents stated there was to be a review in August 2008, there was no evidence of any review, he said.
For a facility to have expired 18 months prior to a demand for repayment being issued was "the antithesis of urgency", Mr Fanning added.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said a letter of demand was issued on June 9 last, but he wanted to know why the delay since December 2008. If the bank did not seek to renegotiate, that was not indicative of any urgency. He adjourned the application for two weeks.