Sunday 25 February 2018

We've upped wealth estimates of 'The Sundance Kid' JP McManus and his close associate John Magnier considerably this year, thanks to new insights from well-placed sources.

Limerick's McManus (64) started life as a bookie but soon realised that he could make more money betting on currency movements and the bond markets than he could on the 3.40 at Kempton.

A spectacular gamble on the devaluation of the Mexican peso in 1994 was said to have made a fortune, as McManus conducted operations from his trading nerve centre in Geneva.

His dealings are well below the radar, although we've uncovered trades when he was involved in a financing proposal for Ashanti Goldfields and buying a 4.9pc stake in Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, India's fastest growing bank.

McManus often invests with John Magnier and the pair own the €1bn-valued Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados, having bought it with a consortium in 1998. They spent €400m to renovate and extend the complex, making it one of the most exclusive getaways in the world.

They also own a 24pc stake in Britain's biggest pub company M&B, although shares have dipped significantly. The pair have made good money from nursing home business Barchester, sharing in €520m in dividends and refinancing the business themselves.

There are some really prime bits of commercial real estate, often in partnership with fellow Limerick man Aidan Brooke's Sloan Capital. This includes a huge building by Place Vendome in Paris, the iconic Unilever HQ overlooking the Thames in London (which was bought for €300m in 2004) and some buildings in New York's TriBeca district.

He also owns what is possibly Ireland's biggest private residence, a vast faux Georgian pile at Killmallock, Limerick, with his family owning property on Shrewsbury Road too.

McManus spent close to €40m to buy Adare Manor, the luxury hotel and golf resort, where he hosts his world famous and celeb-laden Pro-Am for charity. It is estimated that the tax exile has given close to €100m to charity in recent years. McManus still likes a flutter though.

Last year he became embroiled in a US court case relating to taxes allegedly due on €16.2m in winning from a gambling with Alec Gores, a billionaire ranked the 327th richest man in America by Forbes. Gores declared he was withholding $5.22m of the Irish millionaire's winnings to cover any federal income-tax charges, with McManus claiming that he shouldn't have to pay tax on the winning because he's Irish and there's no double taxation agreement with the US over gambling winnings.

McManus lent bankrupt Westlife singer Shane Filan money to buy a €780,000 house in Sligo, according to mortgage documents last year.

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