Thursday 23 November 2017

Businessman Anthony O'Reilly 'insolvent', bank tells court

Ireland's former richest man is now 'bust', court told

Anthony O’Reilly
Anthony O’Reilly
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

Businessman Anthony O'Reilly and two of his investment vehicles "are insolvent" AIB Bank has told the Commercial Court.

AIB, owed some €22.6m by the one time billionaire -who does not dispute the debt - alleged Mr O'Reilly was insolvent this afternoon during court proceedings.

AIB is opposing a bid by Mr O 'Reilly to secure a six month stay allowing AIB to pursue his unencumbered assets.

Earlier the court heard that the businessman personally owes almost €200m to creditors, the Commercial Court has heard.

Mr O'Reilly, who has already told AIB he will sell the church and graveyard on his Castlemartin Estate where his parents are buried to meet debts of some €22.6m, is seeking a six month stay against the lender pursuing his unencumbered assets.

The stay is opposed by AIB which says Mr O'Reilly's unencumbered assets, including assets in the Bahamas, are significant.

This afternoon High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly heard that Mr O'Reilly's debt to AIB represents some 11.6pc of his overall personal liabilities to creditors.

Michael Cush SC, representing Mr O'Reilly, agreed with Judge Kelly that the one time billionaire's debts total some €195m.

Mr O'Reilly, who now lives in the Bahamas, flew into Ireland last month to meet with his advisers after state-controlled AIB asked the Commercial Court to fast-track debt proceedings against Mr O'Reilly and two of his investment vehicles.

The former chief executive of Independent News and Media (INM), the publisher of the Irish Independent, accepts the debts owed to AIB and is "hopeful" that the sale of secured assets - including his Castlemartin Estate in Co Kildare  - will discharge his liabilities to AIB.

His shareholding in Independent Newspapers is also available for sale, the court heard.

He is seeking a six month stay against AIB pursuing his unencumbered assets.

AIB says the application for a stay is "threadbare" and it is opposing the application.

The Commercial Court has heard that there is significant interest in the sale of  Castlemartin.

The case continues.

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