Friday 23 March 2018

EBS may challenge property tycoon’s bankruptcy over €6.9m in unpaid loans

Tim Healy

EBS may move to challenge the UK bankruptcy of Irish property investor Mark Breen against whom it is seeking to enforce a €6.9m judgment over unpaid loans, a court heard.

Among a range of complaints by EBS is that Mr Breen in 2009 transferred to his wife for little or no consideration luxury properties in Barbados, the purchase of which EBS partly financed, and several other properties in Cork and Waterford, including their Waterford family home.

EBS told the Commercial Court yesterday it only recently learned one of the Barbados properties was sold in February 2011 for $3m Barbados dollars (€1.15m) while the other two were for sale.

EBS says it has a real concern the transfers were part of an effort to defraud creditors.

Its counsel Lyndon MacCann SC also suggested to Mr Breen today that his formal separation from his wife last July was devised by himself and his wife to defeat creditors’ claims.

At a hearing before Mr Justice Peter Kelly, Mr Breen denied all those and other claims, said his marriage was over and he was experiencing "a very sad state of affairs". He also denied suggestions his centre of main interests is not in the UK.

Mr Breen said he moved to England early this year to start again as it was very clear there was "no future for me here".

He was renting accommodation in Carlisle and researching a new wind energy business, he added.

He agreed he had not told his creditors of his addresses in England and said he had decided last week to file for bankruptcy there earlier this week, having explored that option at various times since January last.

Mr Breen said he had hoped for a "more reasonable" approach from his creditors in relation to what was to happen to his "well-run portfolio of properties" and that a better arrangement would have been made with EBS other than "destroying me completely" which, he said, was the intention of the institution.

On foot of a court order, Mr Breen, formerly of Newtown Park, Waterford, was examined about his assets and recent application for bankruptcy in the UK..

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