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Friends First undermined Avolon chief, court is told

A BUSINESSMAN is suing Friends First Life Assurance Company over allegedly threatening to pursue him for US$9.5m (€7.2m) under an alleged guarantee over funds issued to buy a hotel in Washington DC.

Domhnal Slattery, of Ailesbury Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 -- who is CEO of Avolon Airspace Ltd -- claims Friends First threatened to sue him and also moved to discredit and undermine him with Avolon shareholders and others after he refused to consent to rectification of a July 2009 deed which allegedly limited Friends First recourse to him under the guarantee.

He claims the July 2009 deed provides Friends First with limited recourse to him arising from his alleged guarantee of March 2008, related to a promissory note via which Friends First advanced about US$9.5m to Claret Capital Holdings LLC towards purchase of the St Regis Hotel.

In an affidavit, he said Friends First and its solicitors have since April 2011 been making threats to sue him arising from the deed of pledge and the situation has led to nervousness among financial institutions and others with whom he does business and could have "devastating financial consequences" for him.

On the application of John Gordon, counsel for Mr Slattery, and with consent of Lyndon MacCann, counsel for Friends First, Mr Justice Peter Kelly agreed yesterday to transfer the case to the Commercial Court. The judge adjourned the case for mention in June.

Irish Independent