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Friday 24 November 2017

Bank loses bid to fast-track Dundrum developer case

Tim Healy

THE developer of the Dundrum Town Centre had an estate valued at just €72,000 a month after his death, the Commercial Court heard yesterday.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said this "extraordinary" valuation should have resulted in "alarm bells" ringing "a lot earlier" for Allied Irish Banks (AIB), which is allegedly owed €58m by the late Liam Maye under various loans and guarantees.

Mr Maye, who died in May 2008, was engaged in property development and speculation and the estate was of "great complexity", the judge said, before refusing AIB's application to have its action fast-tracked by the Commercial Court.

AIB has brought proceedings against Mr Maye's widow Anne -- in her capacity as executrix of the Maye estate -- and Mayeco Properties Ltd and others over various loans and guarantees.

The AIB loans are being reviewed by the National Asset Management Agency as to their eligibility for being taken over by the agency, the court heard.

The facilities include a €57m loan to Mayco Properties Ltd to buy Block C, The Sweepstakes, Ballsbridge, Co Dublin.

AIB lending manager Brendan Hanratty said in an affidavit that the bank previously received periodic statements indicating Mr Maye had a minimum net worth of €100m.

It was only last May that it saw an affidavit sworn by Mrs Maye indicating a gross value of €72,000, comprising cars and boats, for the estate on foot of which a grant of probate was issued on June 12, 2008.

That affidavit was given to the bank by Bernard Somers, chartered accountant, on behalf of the Maye estate.

AIB had "grave concerns" about the explanation given by Mr Somers for the "most unusual" process whereby the grant of probate was extracted, Mr Hanratty said. The matter caused such "disquiet" on the part of the bank and its lawyers it had decided to bring proceedings as a matter of urgency.

The bank had, prior to this, held many meetings with the Maye estate about a possible restructuring of the debts owed. But the estate advanced "unacceptable proposals".

Refusing the bank's fast-track application, Mr Justice Kelly said it was in April last that the bank had issued the proceedings and it was only now -- on the last motion day of the legal year -- that the bank was seeking to have the case transferred.

AIB failed to show the necessary urgency to merit transfer and the case would have to proceed through the ordinary High Court list, he ruled.

Irish Independent

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