Tuesday 15 October 2019

Musician Jim Corr admits 'chaotic' finances

Jim Corr
Jim Corr

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

MUSICIAN Jim Corr, who is being pursued by ACC bank over an unpaid €778,000 property loan, has admitted that his financial affairs were "in a state of free fall" and "chaotic".

But the drummer with sibling pop group "The Corrs"  insists that despite the chaos, his financial affairs were transparent to ACC who, he claims, have shunned a "workout programme" with him.

Last month Mr Corr (48) was ordered to appear before the Commercial Court over efforts by ACC bank to enforce €778,000 outstanding from a €1.4m debt order.

The Dundalk musician was due to be cross examined today about his assets and liabilities by the bank's lawyers who say they have been trying to enforce a judgment against him from two years ago.

But lawyers for Mr Corr, who appeared in court this morning, sought an adjournment of the High Court quiz, stating that he only became personally aware of a court order requiring him to be cross examined last Friday.

Barrister Ross Aylward, for Mr Corr, said the cross examination ought not go ahead to allow the musician to gather all the relevant documentation and clear up any confusion that may arise.

But High Court Judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he did not believe there was a basis for the matter being further adjourned and believed the examination should proceed.

The cross examination is now underway.

Mr Aylward said that the Dundalk born drummer is engaged in meaningful "workout programmes" with both Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank and various properties are being sold to satisfy his debts to those banks.

Mr Aylward told the Commercial Court, the big business division of the High Court, that Mr Corr is "entirely reliant" on his financial advisors and feels limited in terms of the information he can personally provide.

Bernard Dunleavy, barrister for ACC Bank, said that the bank "absolutely accepts" that Mr Corr had short notice of the planned cross examination.

But the bank insisted that he had an extensive time to prepare as an order for discovery, or disclosure, was made half a year ago.

The bank says it has serious questions it wishes to place to Mr Corr in respect of a property where he lives in Northern Ireland.

The property, in a private and gated community, was sold in 2010, High Court Judge Kelly heard.

The court heard that Mr Corr resides at the property, but ACC said it was impossible to discern if he was paying rent on the home, noting that no tenancy agreement had been produced by Mr Corr.

ACC said that it would agree to an adjournment if Mr Corr entered the witness box and gave a series of undertakings, including that he would not seek to be made a bankrupt in any country pending the outcome of the adjourned hearing.

But Mr Aylward said that Mr Corr would not be prepared to give that undertaking not to seek to be declared a bankrupt.

Mr Aylward said that Mr Corr, unlike others, has sought to "face up to his difficulties" and work with his banks.

The court heard that Mr Corr is prepared to give an undertaking to ACC to hold the remainder of any proceeds of the sale of properties to the lender.

Jim Corr is best known as a member of Irish sibling pop group The Corrs.

However, in recent years his views on topics such as 9/11 and swine flu have received widespread media coverage.

In February 2011 he consented to a €1.4m summary judgment order against him in favour of ACC bank over a loan issued to him and others in 2004 to buy lands in Co Kilkenny.

Last month, when the matter came before the Commercial Court- the big business division of the High Court - the Corr's drummer lost his legal team who came off record claiming they have been unable to obtain adequate instructions.

But he has since appointed new lawyers to represent him.

ACC Bank is trying to secure payment of some €778,000 still outstanding from the €1.4m judgment obtained over an unpaid loan advanced to him and others in 2004 to buy lands at Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny.

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