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Investor sues developer Kavanagh for €6.4m over unpaid debt


Developer: Greg Kavanagh says he has a good defence and counterclaim to the case

Developer: Greg Kavanagh says he has a good defence and counterclaim to the case

Developer: Greg Kavanagh says he has a good defence and counterclaim to the case

A property investor is suing developer Greg Kavanagh for €6.4m, claiming default on a debt related to loans to one of his companies.

Anne O'Neill, of Mount Pleasant Square, Dublin, is seeking summary judgment for the money against Mr Kavanagh, of Bath Avenue, Dublin, claiming he failed to meet a demand for repayment issued last May. Mr Kavanagh says he has a good defence and counterclaim to her case.

The proceedings come just weeks after another High Court dispute involving Mr Kavanagh was settled.

His brother Hugh issued proceedings after being removed as a director of 19 companies in which both were involved.

Yesterday, Mr Justice David Barniville refused to admit proceedings issued by Ms O'Neill to the fast-track Commercial Court list because of a four-year delay between when the debt became due and proceedings being taken. The case must now go through the court's ordinary non-jury list.

In her action, Ms O'Neill said while Mr Kavanagh's liability to her became enforceable in May 2016, she had given him forbearance as a result of representations he made at different stages that he would discharge the debt due.

She said she made two loans to his company Ballycrag Developments in September and December 2013 totalling €975,000, with Ballycrag providing security in first fixed charge over a property called Wynnstay House in Clonskeagh, Dublin.

In January 2014, the loan was consolidated into a €2m loan with 20pc interest.

She said Mr Kavanagh also entered into a personal guarantee and indemnity agreement in November 2015 to guarantee the obligations of Ballycrag to her. Under that, it was agreed the amount owing was €2.8m plus interest.

Mr Kavanagh gave an undertaking to sell his shareholding in a company called Greybirch Ltd to pay down the money owed to her, she said. He further agreed that if she was not repaid by February 2016, he would sell the Clonskeagh property to pay off the debt.

Since February 2016, Mr Kavanagh outlined "various scenarios" that would result in repayment but "none came to fruition", she said. Ms O'Neill believed it was used as "a means of deflection, delay and prevarication" to persuade her against taking legal action.

She said in 2016 there were newspaper reports Mr Kavanagh was to receive €150m from his former financial backers, M&G Investments, under a settlement agreement.

But, she says, Mr Kavanagh had a dispute with M&G and eventually High Court proceedings over the matter were settled in 2017. Despite the ultimate resolution of that and another dispute with a businessman, he had still refused to pay her, she said.

Ms O'Neill said she was now concerned Mr Kavanagh's assets may be reduced after the settlement with his brother.

In a replying affidavit, Mr Kavanagh said far from showing forbearance, Ms O'Neill had been vigorous in making demands and threats of enforcement against him, including threatening to seek the winding up of Ballycrag.

He said the dispute with his brother had "no connection" to these proceedings.

Irish Independent