Tuesday 21 November 2017

McNamara launches €87m lawsuit against pair trying to bankrupt him

Bernard McNamara: developer has debts totalling €1.5bn
Bernard McNamara: developer has debts totalling €1.5bn
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

THE threat of bankruptcy hanging over embattled developer Bernard McNamara could be neutered by an €87m counter lawsuit against the two men who are trying to bankrupt him.

Mr McNamara, who has debts of €1.5bn and has already publicly admitted that he is "broke", is counter suing two former business partners who have filed a bankruptcy petition on foot of a €2.24m judgment they secured against him in earlier court proceedings.

Gary Smith, the owner of the Submarine Bar in Dublin, and Northern Ireland businessman Ivor Dougan triggered Mr McNamara's fight against bankruptcy when the Dublin Sheriff moved last June to execute their judgment by seizing artwork and other items belonging to the Clare-born developer.

Mr McNamara, who disputes the validity of the execution order, has now issued a counter claim of €101m against a set of business partners including Mr Smith and Mr Dougan.

Legal experts say the existence of a disputed liability could lead to the bankruptcy proceedings being thrown out of court if a judge is not satisfied that the debt on which the bankruptcy petition is founded is undisputed.

High profile

Mr McNamara's counterclaim against Mr Smith and Mr Dougan, as well as former business partners Paschal Taggart, Shane Taggart and Terry Cooney, is set to take centre stage as the developer's bankruptcy case comes back before the High Court when the new legal term begins in October.

The counter claim relates to a case that was settled in the Commercial Court more than two years ago.

The men had originally agreed to a plan to develop a shopping centre in the area around Dublin's Westbury Hotel and surrounding streets, but the deal faltered when Mr McNamara could not raise finance to complete the deal.

In December 2008, a case taken by Mr Dougan, Mr Smith, Pascal Taggart, Terry Cooney and Shane Taggart against Mr McNamara was struck out in the Commercial Court after the court was told the matter had been settled.

However, the case was re-entered last February by Mr Dougan and Mr Smith alone, who later, with Mr McNamara's consent, secured a judgment for €2.24m against him.

An execution order was issued in May allowing the sheriff to seize property owned by him, but Mr McNamara has lodged proceedings against the five men seeking €101m.

McNamara will claim his former partners agreed to release him from personal guarantees on borrowing to buy properties for the Grafton Street development. Of the €101m, Mr McNamara will claim €87m is owed by Smith and Dougan.

Irish Independent

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