Saturday 16 December 2017

Bill Cullen drops all legal challenges against Ulster Bank-appointed receivers

Bill Cullen
Bill Cullen

Aodhan O Faolain and Ray Managh

Businessman Bill Cullen has dropped all legal challenges he had mounted in the Commercial Court against the approach taken by Ulster Bank-appointed receivers in selling assets of his companies.

The High Court heard that Cullen, who owes the bank €11.5m, will not now face a huge legal costs bill because of his agreement to the sale of five of his properties for €8.3m. He told the court there was another eight properties to be sold and that the bank would get its money.

Cullen had sought declarations that he has an interest in a number of lands and properties over which the receivers were appointed in 2012 and 2013, including properties in Counties Dublin, Wexford, Clare, Kerry, Laois and Wicklow. 

He had also looked for declarations that the appointment of the receivers were null and void and had made allegations of breaches of Central Bank and Consumer Protection Codes.

His legal proceedings had been taken against the bank, its receivers and other defendants, including companies,  solicitors acting for the bank Arthur Cox, and named individual solicitors and estate agents acting in the intended sales of the assets.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly was told the case was being withdrawn against the various parties on the basis none of them would seek their legal costs against Mr Cullen. 

The Judge said he accepted a letter tendered on Mr Cullen's behalf by a law firm that the proceedings were being discontinued and he struck out the case.  Mr Cullen, who attended court with his partner Jackie Lavin, said he was agreeable to that course of action.

Bernard Dunleavy, counsel for the bank, the receivers, Arthur Cox solicitors and individual partners and solicitors of that firm, said his clients had agreed not to seek their legal costs as a result of the action against them being discontinued. 

Judge Kelly struck out a number of lis pendens notices (notifications of pending litigation) over a range of properties in which Cullen claimed to have a beneficial interest.  The properties included assets of the Glencullen Group of companies and several parcels of land over which receivers had been appointed.

Last July Ulster Bank Ireland Ltd, its receivers and its solicitors, Arthur Cox succeeded in an application to have Mr Cullen's case  fast-tracked through the Commercial Court.  They had brought the motion because Mr Cullen's proceedings were delaying intended sales of properties.

They were also very concerned about the allegations of professional misconduct made against professionals. The court heard these claims had been taken very seriously and the parties rejected them.

International litigation experts Balfour and Manson in Edinburgh have been engaged to represent Bill and Jackie in their legal affairs in the coming months

A spokesperson told that Bill and Jackie are 'very happy with today’s outcome'.

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