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How Anglo bankrolled high-fliers in New York

Anglo Irish Bank loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to some of Ireland's wealthiest people to buy luxury apartments in New York just as the global financial crisis began.

An Irish Independent investigation can reveal that the bank gave loans to a host of well-known sporting and business figures for property on the exclusive Fifth Avenue and other upmarket areas of New York. Loan documents reveal that included among those who got loans were:

  • Eimear Mulhern, daughter of late Taoiseach Charles Haughey, who got $1.4m;

  • Her brother Ciaran Haughey, who got $765,810;

  • Jockey Mick Kinane, who has recently retired, was loaned $1.4m;

  • The son of ex-Anglo Irish chairman Sean FitzPatrick, David, also got money for an apartment.

And the consortium behind the Shelbourne Hotel got a loan worth $7.9m just weeks before nationalisation, with developer Bernard McNamara listed as a guarantor of the loan.

Some of the loans advanced by the bank have since been modified or the amounts involved reduced following agreement with the bank.

The price of apartments in Manhattan has slumped since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.

The documents also show that Eimear Mulhern was given a loan worth $1.4m to purchase a Fifth Avenue apartment in early 2007.

Another member of the family, Ciaran Haughey, was given a loan of $765,810 to purchase an apartment in the same area of the city.

Loan documents show that retired flat racing jockey Mick Kinane borrowed $1.4m for a condominium on Fifth Avenue in January 2007, using a variable mortgage interest rate.

The Irish Independent has also seen the loan documents for New York purchases by a number of property developers and others figures from the property industry.

Michael Burke, of Burkeway Construction, and members of his family were advanced a loan worth $1.3m for an apartment on Broad Street. Gerry McCaug- hey, the former managing director of Century Homes, who is currently in dispute with the bank over hotel deals in New York, is also listed as a borrower from the bank for New York apartments.

Domhnall Slattery, a millionaire businessman, is recorded as borrowing $1.2m in May 2007 for an apartment at West 48th Street. Mr Slattery is the founder of the corporate jet company JetBird, which ran into trouble late last year, laying-off most of its staff. Mr Slattery, a resident of Ailesbury Road, is the chief executive of private equity company Claret Capital.

The now deceased property developer John O'Dolan also borrowed millions for properties in exclusive areas of New York from the bank. The beef processor and energy investor Martin Blake is also listed as a borrower of over $1m for one apartment.

A large range of auctioneers, solicitors and others business people used Anglo Irish to buy properties in New York, many investing just as the subprime mortgage crisis was beginning.

However, the so-called super rich like Bono of U2 and Riverdance creators John McColgan and Moya Doherty did not fund their New York property purchases through Anglo, instead using Bank of Ireland.

Irish Independent