Saturday 25 January 2020

Pub owner's wife given properties 'on back of €9.3m debt'

Aodhan O'Faolain and Mark O'Regan

THE wife of the owner of a well-known pub has claimed she discovered she was owed €9.3m by her husband for loans she had advanced to him almost 10 years earlier.

Mary Cullen is wife of David Cullen, whose property portfolio includes the Turk's Head bar and Paramount Hotel in Dublin's Temple Bar.

She told a court she made the discovery in late 2008 or early 2009.

She said the transfer of properties to her from her husband was not a deliberate attempt to get repaid what he owed her ahead of the banks.

She was under examination yesterday in the Commercial Court about her financial affairs. As he had no cash to repay her, she said she was prepared to accept whatever she could get.

Mrs Cullen was questioned before Mr Justice Peter Charleton by Aidan Redmond SC, for NAMA, about a number of transactions as part of efforts to enforce a €29m judgment obtained by NAMA against him, arising from unpaid Bank of Ireland loans.

NAMA got the €29m judgment last March.

REDUCE

Mrs Cullen accepted she loaned €5.9m to her husband during 1998 and 1999. By 2009 he had repaid interest of €1.7m.

She said his debt to her, including interest, was some €9.3m in January 2009.

In September-October of that year he transferred 40 unencumbered properties to her to reduce that debt.

When asked why she accepted property assets from her husband at a time when values were crashing, she said she was prepared to take what she could. Following the property transfer a debt of €3.74m remained outstanding.

She agreed that in order to satisfy the remainder of what she was owed in late 2010, her husband had sold his half of the Paramount Hotel to her.

The matter will return before the court later this month.

Irish Independent

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