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Real estate guru says he would buy back O'Donnell building

HE boasted that it was "the best deal I ever made in my life," earning him more than €100,000 in profit for every day he owned the building.

Now the Danish property guru who sold a Swedish office block to high flying lawyer Brian O'Donnell for €285m at the peak of the property boom has said he would buy it back if the price was "realistic."

Earlier this week it was revealed that companies owned by Mr O'Donnell and his wife Mary Pat, a doctor, owe more than €800m to a variety of banks.

One of the jewels in the crown of the O'Donnell's empire is the Fatburen Building in Stockholm, home to Sweden's tax authorities.

Last night, Danish real estate guru Ole Vagner, who sold the Fatburen Building in March 2007 to the O'Donnell's Vico Capital, said that the deal -- one of the largest payouts for a single property in Sweden -- was carried out at a time when Sweden's property prices were rising rapidly.

The building was secured on foot of a €234,973m loan from German property bank Aareal.

"It [Fatburen] is an attractive piece," Mr Vagner told the Irish Independent.

"It is well-let and well-located, if it became available at a realistic price, I would be tempted."

The close-knit legal community in Ireland has been rocked by revelations that companies owned by Mr O'Donnell and his wife have outstanding debts of some €886m.

The Bank of Ireland debt, at some €70m, is one of the smallest debts owed by the couple and their companies.

Other debts who lent to them include Morgan Stanley (owed €457m), Aareal (€234.973m), Allied Irish Banks (€97.76m).

The O'Donnells have hit back at Bank of Ireland, whose lawsuit unmasked the scale of their ventures into the international property market.

They claim that they are among the most experienced real estate investors from Ireland, and say that they are the victims of a "campaign" by the bank to force them to sell the Sanctuary Buildings, a landmark office block close to the Houses of Parliament in London.

The couple are facing further difficulties on Monday when Bank of Ireland will seek permission from the big business division of the High Court to fast track two lawsuits against two O'Donnell companies, Vico Swiss Holdings and Grey Stoke Anonyme.

Bank of Ireland is seeking €39m from the O'Donnell-owned companies, whose borrowings are guaranteed by Avoca properties Limited, but have stressed that the sums are not in addition to the €70m claimed in last week's proceedings.

Irish Independent