Saturday 25 November 2017

Bank has 'no evidential basis' for seeking a court order that Dr Anthony O'Reilly makes further disclosure on his assets, court hears

Sir Anthony O'Reilly
Sir Anthony O'Reilly

A BANK seeking to recover debts from Dr Anthony O'Reilly has no evidential basis for seeking a court order that the businessman make further disclosure on his assets, the Court of Appeal heard.

Dr O'Reilly is appealing a High Court decision last June granting AIB an order for discovery in aid of execution of a €22.6m judgment entered against him last year in favour of the bank.

His total indebtedness to AIB now stands at around €15m.

Bernard Dunleavy SC, for Dr O'Reilly, said AIB has been advised his client has €13.5m in unencumbered assets which the bank could move against.

Yet, not only had it not moved against these assets, it had made no attempt to do so, counsel said.

AIB denies claims on behalf of Dr O'Reilly the application was made as part of a collateral attempt to embarrass the 79-year-old businessman.  It says Dr O'Reilly had an interim receiver appointed over unencumbered assets as part of an insolvency arrangement he entered into in the Bahamas where he is resident.

Mr Dunleavy, in his submissions to the appeal court, said AIB obtained a High Court order requiring the businessman - who underwent back surgery earlier this year in New York - to swear a new affidavit  after a judge ruled there was nothing to stop him instructing lawyers and accountants to prepare the information.

Dr O'Reilly, who the court heard had been on round-the-clock painkillers following his surgery, then appealed that order and the three-judge Court of Appeal today said it would give its decision Tuesday.

Mr Dunleavy previously said AIB had sought the order in an attempt to "humiliate and embarrass" the businessman.

Counsel, in reply to a question from appeal court President Mr Justice Ryan, said there was an ulterior motive behind it and that should affect a court's discretion whether or not to grant the order.

Dr O'Reilly had provided AIB with a statement of assets as he had done for all his creditors as part of the businessman's personal insolvency arrangement in the Bahamas, counsel said.

While there was a low threshold of evidence for the requirement for discovery in aid of execution of a judgment, AIB had presented no evidence, counsel said.

James Doherty Bl, for AIB, said such discovery orders were not unusual in judgment order cases.

The bank had "been given the runaround" when it attempted to serve proceedings on Dr O'Reilly in the Bahamas where he says he is a permanent resident, counsel said. 

A statement of assets furnished to the bank had not been prepared by Dr O'Reilly, but by someone else, and could never be sufficient to satisfy the discovery process,  counsel said.

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