Thursday 5 December 2019

Courts got €500,000 as Treasury liquidated

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The courts service received €500,000 from asset realisations generated by the liquidator of Treasury Holdings - one of Ireland's best-known Celtic Tiger building companies - according to company filings.

The money paid as court duty was to bankroll related administration costs incurred by the courts during the liquidation headed by Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of accountancy firm Grant Thornton.

At the time, the courts service received fees during liquidations based on asset realisations.

However, that mechanism no longer applies to new liquidations.

Treasury Holdings, once controlled by Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett, was a major player in the construction frenzy that gripped the country more than a decade ago.

The company was placed into liquidation in 2012 at the downturn's nadir.

That followed legal efforts by Mr Ronan and Mr Barrett to prevent the collapse of what was described as a "hopelessly insolvent" business.

Their Treasury venture was once valued at €4.8bn, but was brought down by a toxic combination of collapsing property values and €2.7bn of debt.

Having battled with Nama, the company was finally undermined by a €70m debt to the Belgian lender KBC Bank, which went to court to have the business shut.

Previous filings show that KBC Bank Ireland received €345,000 in petitioner fees as a disbursement from Treasury's liquidators.

The most recent liquidator filings reveal that €666,000 in legal fees were disbursed between April and October last year.

An additional €484,000 in professional fees were also paid out by the liquidators, while almost €46,000 in fees was paid to a firm called Burlington Real Estate Management.

Burlington Real Estate Management is the asset management firm headed by John Bruder, the former managing director of Treasury Holdings.

The liquidators' previous statements also show that the liquidators received fees of just under €2m in two years from October 2012 to October 2014.

During that time, the liquidators also made a €910,000 disbursement to international law firm Maples & Calder to cover legal fees.

In 2015, it was reported that by that time, Nama had paid receivers' fees of almost €77m to 68 accountancy firms in a four-year period.

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