Monday 19 February 2018

Bank has difficulties getting loans repaid in Gerald Kean case, court hears

Gerald Kean
Gerald Kean

Aodhan O'Faolain

SOLICITOR Gerald Kean’s alleged failure to adhere to his undertaking to return title deeds to a bank for two properties of his former girlfriend means the bank faces difficulties securing repayment of loans, the High Court heard.

Those loans were for some €600,000 made to Dolores Corcoran several years ago, the court was told.

Sarah Hanratty, of EBS/AIB, said Mr Kean had returned the title deeds of a third property of Ms Corcoran's but not the title deeds of two other properties, one of which contained most equity.

The deeds were required over the refinancing of three of four loans made to Ms Corcoran by EBS between 2004 and 2006.

Because those title deeds are now with another financial institution, Permanent TSB,  EBS cannot enforce its security for the fourth loan advanced by it to Ms Corcoran which remains unpaid, Ms Hanratty said.

Asked by Andrew Fitzpatrick SC, for EBS, why EBS had sued Gerald Kean, she said it was because EBS has a considerable loan and most of Ms Corcoran's debt to it had not been refinanced.

The larger loan, for some €600,000, was not refinanced and EBS, due to not having the relevant title deeds, cannot enforce its security concerning the two properties - at Portnahully, Carrigeen, Waterford, and Hunter's Way, Williamstown, Waterford - she said.

The security for those properties was "a lot greater" than the security EBS holds over the third property at Henrietta Street, Waterford, she said.

EBS potentially has a borrower who cannot pay back the debt and would normally rely on the security but it cannot access that, she said.  EBS had a first legal mortgage over the two properties. 

EBS wanted Mr Kean to return the deeds so it has adequate security for the loan or to compensate for that security in some way, she said.

She agreed with Richard Kean SC, for Gerald Kean, EBS has personal guarantees provided by Ms Corcoran and her father but said she understood EBS had to rely on the security for the property before it could act under that guarantee.

Mr Kean will continue his cross-examination of Ms Hanratty today in the action by EBS against Gerald Kean alleging "very serious" failures to comply with his signed undertakings to return the relevant title deeds.

It also alleges, as a result of Ms Corcoran's refinancing arrangements with Permanent TSB, those deeds were passed by Mr Kean to PTSB when they should not have been.

The case is only against Mr Kean, who is principal of the firm, and no allegations are made by EBS against other solicitors in the practice, Andrew Fitzpatrick SC, for EBS, said on Wednesday.

In evidence on Wednesday, Georgina Campbell of EBS/AIB, said she dealt with various documents and correspondence concerning the Corcoran loans in 2008, including correspondence from the Kean firm concerning redemption of those loans.

She agreed some of the EBS documents did not contain details, in the particular document, of all four loan accounts.

Earlier, there were angry exchanges between counsel for the sides after Richard Kean voiced strong criticism to Mr Justice Michael Twomey about how the case was opened for EBS by Mr Fitzpatrick on Tuesday.

Mr Kean said an opening is not evidence and Mr Fitzpatrick had made an “attack” of the “most serious” nature not just on Gerald Kean but on other solicitors in his firm.

There was no evidence to date to support that and, unless any such evidence was called during the hearing, he would be applying at the end of the EBS case to have it dismissed, counsel said.

Mr Fitzpatrick said that was a “scandalous” application and he had made no allegations in his opening of the sort being “thrown around like confetti” by Richard Kean who was “grandstanding” and interrupting the flow of the case.

Mr Fitzpatrick said he had made an allegation of misconduct against Gerald Kean, that was made from an early stage in the case and there were no allegations against other solicitors in the Kean firm.

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