Saturday 18 November 2017

Fund seeking €1.7m order against former AIB director

Bernard Somers says he will meet his liability by March 2018. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Bernard Somers says he will meet his liability by March 2018. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Tim Healy

A fund is seeking a €1.7m judgment against former AIB and Central Bank director Bernard Somers in relation to a loan secured on various assets, including his home in leafy south Dublin.

Launceston Property Finance DAC issued a demand on October 4 for repayment, within two days, of some €1.76m allegedly outstanding on a €3.62m loan. When that was not paid, it issued proceedings.

Lawyers for Launceston applied yesterday to have its summary judgment application entered into the Commercial Court. Mr Justice Brian McGovern adjourned it to March 12, 2018. The judge noted that Mr Somers has said he had an agreement under which he will meet his liability by March 1, 2018. He also said he did not want the court's fast-track procedures being used in an "oppressive" way on someone who was not trying to avoid their responsibilities.

Apart from Mr Somers's claims of overcharging of interest, he accepted liability and maintains he has a standstill agreement under which he would discharge the debt by March 1, the judge said.

While Launceston denied any such agreement, an email from its agent Pepper Assets Servicing agreed the loans would continue to the end of February 2018. Launceston's proceedings are for summary judgment against Mr Somers and his wife Marguerite, of Old Bawn, Kerrymount Avenue, Foxrock.

Counsel for Ms Somers said the fund accepts her liability under the loan is limited to her interest in the Foxrock property, the sole owner of which is Mr Somers.

Gary McCarthy SC, for Launceston, argued there is a dispute concerning the debt which he believed would extend beyond March 1, because Mr Somers alleges overcharging of interest over a long period.

Bernard Dunleavy SC, for Mr Somers, said his client has paid almost €10m to Anglo, arising from facilities, and it was "at least likely" there would be issues about overcharging, and he will pay the correct sum due and owing. He was not asking the court to shut out the fund "forever", but it was not entitled to seek judgment now given Mr Somers's agreement to repay the debt by March 1. While there would be an issue as to the precise sums due, the fund might also accept by March next his client has been overcharged a "significant" sum.

The case arises from a 2010 loan for €3.62m made by Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Ltd to the couple. The fund accepts Ms Somers's liability was limited to her interest in their home, described as a "very valuable" asset.

After Anglo's collapse the loan was transferred to Irish Bank Resolution Corporation and acquired by the fund in 2014. Launceston claims the loan was not drawn down for purchasing a family home but that the couple's home was security for it.

Irish Independent

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