Friday 20 April 2018

Wallace named in debt journal over €2m judgment

Independent TD Mick Wallace. Photo: Tom Burke
Independent TD Mick Wallace. Photo: Tom Burke
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Independent TD Mick Wallace will be named today in 'Stubbs Gazette', the publication that tracks people who have defaulted on loans.

The gazette is best known for carrying details of debts registered with the courts.

It shows that a company called Promontoria (Aran) Ltd registered a €2m judgment against Mick Wallace in the High Court on July 6.

Registering a judgment can be the first step by a creditor in bankrupting a borrower if the debt is not repaid.

In the past, a bankrupt TD would automatically lose their seat in the Dáil. However, those rules were relaxed in 2014, so there is no risk to Mr Wallace's seat, regardless of the debt.

Promontoria is owned by US funds giant Cerberus, the same fund that was at the centre of allegations made in the Dáil by Mr Wallace in relation to the acquisition of Nama's €5.7bn Northern Ireland portfolio. The substance of those allegations is now subject to a number of investigations in the UK and the US.

Read more: Wallace: Fortress told me Nama NI sale 'horrifically uncompetitive'

Cerberus's Promontoria (Aran) Ltd bought the €2m Wallace debt from Ulster Bank last year. The loans are linked to M&J Wallace, one of Mr Wallace's pre-crash Dublin businesses, but are also understood to be backed by personal guarantees, leaving the TD liable if the business could not pay the debt. Last night, Mr Wallace told the Irish Independent that Cerberus had nothing to be gained financially by registering the judgment against him, given the scale of his other business debts.

"I haven't been able to second-guess what Cerberus are going to do," Mr Wallace said.

He said he was not currently considering options, such as bankruptcy, that could clear the debts.

"It (bankruptcy) is not on my agenda, I have my hands full, especially with Nama," he said.

When the loan case was before courts back in January, Mr Wallace resisted the application in the Commercial Court for summary judgment orders to be made against him.

His lawyers argued that Promontoria (Aran) Ltd, had not validly been assigned a €2.1m loan of M&J Wallace made to that company in 2009 by Ulster Bank, and therefore was not entitled to the judgment order.

He also wanted the process delayed until the outcome of a receivership of his M&J Wallace company, saying rising property values there would help with the recovery of the debts.

He is entitled to a full plenary hearing on those matters and the fund should be refused summary judgment orders, he maintains.

Irish Independent

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