Tuesday 21 January 2020

Residence permit companies in court battle

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Tim Healy

A dispute has arisen between two firms involved in availing of the State's Immigrant Investor Programme, it has been claimed in the Commercial Court.

People who have applied for a residence permit here have invested, or promised to invest, €23.5m in projects under a vehicle set up between the companies - Peppercanister Focus Capital and Deke Holdings.

Peppercanister, of Mount Street Crescent, Dublin, is suing Deke, of Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Dublin, over an alleged failure to perform a May 2018 share purchase agreement, which provided for the sale by Deke to Peppercanister of shares in GCI ICAV, an asset management vehicle.

Peppercanister says it lodged €1m in an escrow account for this purpose.

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The share purchase agreement identified 37 foreign investors who had applied to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service for a residence permit, and had subscribed or applied to subscribe €23.5m in projects sponsored by GCI.

For each investor who obtained or retained a residence permit, and who agreed to invest in a specified project, a portion of the money in the escrow account was to be released to Deke.

However, a dispute arose between the two firms in relation to the release of monies notices for the escrow account.

Where there was a dispute about the release of monies, the parties were required to use reasonable endeavours to resolve the matter within five days, Peppercanister says. If that failed, a barrister was to determine the dispute.

A further dispute arose over the barrister to be appointed to resolve this matter.

Peppercanister says Deke has frustrated the dispute resolution process required under the share purchase agreement.

As a result, it brought proceedings which were admitted to the Commercial Court yesterday by Mr Justice David Barniville.

It seeks an order for specific performance of the May 2018 share purchase agreement, so as to require Deke to take all necessary steps for the appointment of an independent barrister to determine the dispute. The judge was told that earlier efforts at mediation were not successful.

Adjourning the matter to next month, the judge urged the parties to engage again.

Irish Independent

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