Wednesday 23 October 2019

Corr: I was in dire straits and sold property to protect son

Jim Corr leaves court after the hearing
Jim Corr leaves court after the hearing

Niamh Lynch and Tim Healy

MUSICIAN Jim Corr has told the High Court that he was "trying to protect" his son when he sold a mortgage-free Dublin apartment for €350,000 weeks after ACC Bank secured a €1.4m judgment against him.

The drummer with sibling pop group The Corrs was subjected to a sustained grilling by lawyers for ACC, which accused him of trying to sell mortgage-free properties to put them beyond the bank's reach.

Mr Corr (48) initially denied that there was anything irregular in the sale of two apartments – one in Dublin and one in Northern Ireland – which were sold after ACC issued proceedings against him to recover its debt.

But after a dramatic day in the High Court, Mr Corr said that he was "in dire straits" and was trying to protect what he could at a time when his finances were "chaotic" and "in freefall".

Mr Corr relented after Bernard Dunleavy, barrister for ACC, highlighted an "extraordinary and unusual sequence of coincidences" surrounding the property sales.

He was also reminded by High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly that he was under oath and was twice asked if he would like to reconsider his evidence.

"Do you really expect me to believe that, seriously," asked Judge Kelly when he asked Mr Corr whether the sale of an apartment in Donnybrook was "a stroke of good luck" or because of the judgment against him.

The court heard an apartment at Donnybrook Castle, Dublin 4, which had been on sale since 2008, was sold to a Maltese-based company within weeks of ACC securing a court judgment of €1.44m against Mr Corr in February 2011.

The court also heard about another property in Northern Ireland where Mr Corr had been allowed to live rent-free after selling it to a German man he met at a dinner party hosted by one of his sister's friends in Majorca in 2010.

The court heard that the Maltese-based company which bought the Dublin apartment in March 2011 was fronted by an Irishman who was an associate of the German man.

Mr Dunleavy said it was an extraordinary sequence of events as the apartment was bought by a Malta-based entity called I and E Properties, which had no turnover that year but paid €350,000 for the the Donnybrook property.

I and E was fronted by Mike Young, who was an associate of solicitor Mortimer Walters, the founder of Mr Corr's former solicitors, Adams Adams had also acted for I and E in the purchase, said Mr Dunleavy.

Mr Young was an associate of German Florian Karrer, who around this time had bought another apartme-nt from Mr Corr at Sharman, Old Windmill Road, Bangor, Co Down, for £295,000 and allowed him to live there rent free for three years, said the barrister.

Mr Corr repeatedly told the Commercial Court, the big business division of the High Court, about the stress he was under dealing with the debts he was left with following the collapse of his investment business partnership.

Mr Corr told the court he was a musician, and was "not good with numbers" and depended on other people for financial advice.

The musician said he been left with a "monster of an entity" to deal with.

Mr Corr said he had been only a 25pc shareholder in the development business – the MarksCorr Partnership – and had expected his two business partners to divide up the losses.

The cross examination resumes in July.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News