Sunday 25 February 2018

Group claim they 'lost millions' on Spanish property scheme

Aodhan O'Faolain and Ray Managh.

A GROUP of investors who claim they lost millions in a Spanish property scheme may sue an accountancy firm which they claim provided them with false and misleading information, the High Court heard today.


The action is being contemplated by several investors who say they have lost all of the €3.75m they invested, in 2007, in a property scheme called "Boadilla Del Monte". The scheme related to a proposal to build more than 145 luxury properties close to Madrid.


They claim the scheme was presented to them by a company called LM Madrid and by two individuals Mr Donal Caulfield Silverdale House, Castle Road Castleknock and Mr Leo Meenagh, Poterstown Kill Co Kildare.


The investment, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard yesterday, was made on the basis that the investment was secured by personal guarantees from Mr Caulfield and Mr Meenagh who were said (in 2007) to have a net worth of €225m.


Statements of the two individuals purported net worth in 2007 were provided by an accountancy firm called the Hopkins O'Halloran Group, it is claimed.


The court heard that recent investigations conducted on the investors behalf revealed that the statements of net worth were misleading and inaccurate.


The statements, they allege, also failed to disclose that the late Mr Gerard Hopkins, who was part of the accountancy firm, was a director and member of some of the companies the accountants were supposedly making an independent valuation of when putting together the statements of net worth. 


Mr Hopkins, it is claimed, was a member of the accountancy firm when the statements of Mr Caulfiled and Meenagh's net worth were complied.


The investor's solicitors Mason, Hayes and Curran say their clients have a good cause of action and have called on various parties, including the accountancy firm, to admit liability in respect of the investor's losses.


Yesterday at a vacation sitting of the High Court Mr Justice Cross was informed that the investors have instructed their lawyers to prepare proceedings against the estate of the late Mr Hopkins (aged 53) of Seafield Road, Clontarf Co Dublin died on March 10th last.


Following an application by the investor's lawyers the Judge agreed to make orders, on an ex-parte (where one side only was represented in court) basis, granting the investors limited representation in the estate of the late Mr Hopkins.


The Judge was informed that in order to defend the proposed action some person must be appointed as administrator of Mr Hopkins's estate.


No steps by any other person have been taken to administer Mr Hopkins' estate. However Ms Anne Stephenson of Stephenson's solicitors Blackrock had agreed to act as administrator, the court heard.


The court further heard the investor's lawyers had enquired, but were unable to ascertain if the late Mr Hopkins had left a will or not. 

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