Business Irish

Sunday 25 March 2018

Solicitor sues IBRC alleging negligence over property fund

Tim Healy

A SOLICITOR claims he and 131 other investors in a property fund marketed by the former Anglo Irish Bank Private Bankers are being used as "a human shield" to protect the bank's own interests.

The fund relates to the Whitgift Shopping Centre and office development in Croydon, London, a court heard.

Solicitor John Spencer has brought an action for damages against the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo, which yesterday asked Mr Justice Peter Kelly to fast-track the case to the Commercial Court.

Mr Spencer, Lakeview, Ballina, Co Tipperary, alleges negligence by the bank in relation to the Whitgift Geared Property fund in which he invested €1m.

The fund was marketed by Anglo Irish Bank Private Bankers (AIBPB) -- now IBRC Wealth Management -- to high net worth private investors in autumn 2005.

It was arranged by AIBPB in conjunction with Anglo Irish Assurance and involved 132 policyholders investing in life assurance policies whose value was linked to the value of the property assets of the fund.

IBRC claims the investment was described in the fund brochure as "a high risk geared investment".

Mr Spencer, the bank alleges, is both a solicitor and an "experienced property investor" who, it claims, completed a personal finance review in October 2005 expressing a preference for high-risk investment.

IBRC contends it has no liability in relation to Mr Spencer's investment and says it wants the case speedily dealt with in the Commercial Court so as to avoid any unnecessary delays and expense.

Eoin McCullough, for IBRC, said Mr Spencer issued proceedings in August 2011 but had yet to serve a formal claim outlining his case against the bank.

Mr Spencer, representing himself, said he had yet to receive proper answers from the bank to about six questions put by him in a letter to it.

The answer to those questions would have an effect on his decision whether to continue with his action, he argued.

Mr Justice Kelly said he would transfer the case to the Commercial Court.

Irish Independent

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