Thursday 21 November 2019

Rocca settles case with bank over €1.27m insurance policy

Aodhan O'Faolain

A HIGH Court dispute over a €1.27m insurance policy on the late property developer Patrick Rocca junior has been settled.

His brother, Bernard Rocca, had brought the case against Danske Bank, claiming he and not the bank was entitled to the proceeds of the life policy.

Yesterday, counsel for Bernard Rocca, Ross Maguire, told Mr Justice Paul Gilligan the issue between the bank and his client had been resolved and the action could be dismissed.

The judge agreed to strike out the action.

No details of the settlement were announced and lawyers said it was confidential.

The case was settled on the fifth day of the action, following extensive talks between the parties that commenced after Bernard Rocca's cross examination by Declan McGrath, counsel for the bank, had concluded. Neither Bernard Rocca, nor his sister-in-law Annette, who was listed to give evidence on behalf of the bank, were present in court yesterday.

In his proceedings against Danske, Bernard Rocca claimed he was the beneficiary of a Hibernia Aviva Life policy on his brother Patrick, a well-known developer who died in January 2009.

Danske, trading as National Irish Bank, claimed it was entitled to the proceeds to pay off some €1.5m still owed on a €3.85m mortgage advanced to Patrick and his wife, Annette, in 2006.

The bank claimed Bernard Rocca, in 2004, assigned the policy to Brentwood Properties Ltd, controlled by Patrick Rocca. It claims Brentwood's shares were beneficially owned by Patrick and Accorp Properties Ltd, while Accorp's shares were owned by the estate of Patrick and his wife.

The bank claimed Brentwood assigned the benefit of the life policy to Patrick Rocca and that, plus other policies, were assigned to the bank as security for the €3.85m loan.

Bernard Rocca denied he assigned his benefit in the policy to any party. He accepted he may have signed a document assigning his interest in the policy in favour of his brother in July 2004, but had not knowingly done so.

He said he was never asked by anyone to assign his interest in the policy at the centre of the dispute. No original of that assignment was ever found, and the document purportedly assigning his interest in the policy was a photocopy.

The court also heard that another document where he purportedly assigned his interest in the policy in favour of his brother Patrick in 2002 was a forgery.

Irish Independent

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