Tuesday 21 November 2017

Solicitor in BoI deal after court row over €70m loan

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

A HIGH-flying solicitor whose companies owe more than €800m is said to be "very happy" with a deal he and his wife have struck with Bank of Ireland.

Commercial lawyer Brian O'Donnell had accused the bank of devaluing his international property portfolio by suing for almost €70m in unpaid property loans.

Mr O'Donnell, his psychiatrist wife Dr Mary Pat, and three of their companies had not repaid the loans with BoI in more than two years.

But the husband and wife team had complained that BoI's lawsuit was designed to force them to sell the shares in a property company that controls the Sanctuary Building, one of their flagship assets in London.

The couple has €43m worth of residential properties in Ireland as well as a €13.3m ski chalet in the French resort of Courchevel.

Mr O'Donnell, who described himself in court filings as one of Ireland's leading corporate lawyers, is a principal in Brian O'Donnell and Partners, one of 64 firms appointed by NAMA to its panel of potential legal advisers.

Last night, the couple, who have a property portfolio once valued at more than €1bn and stretching from Washington to Stockholm, were said to be "very happy" with the deal -- the terms of which are confidential.

Meanwhile, the O'Donnells are attempting to sell two international trophy assets they acquired in 2006 and 2007, just as the property market peaked.

The Irish Independent has learned that the Fatburen Building in Stockholm, which the O'Donnells bought for €285m in March 2007, is back on the market. It was valued last year at €278m.

Last night, the couple's Swedish real estate broker, Thomas Persson of Catella -- the European Finance Group -- said that there was "substantial interest" in the Fatburen Building, the headquarters of Sweden's tax authorities.

The O'Donnells are also trying to sell the Sanctuary Building, home to England's department of education.

The protracted case was settled yesterday at the Commercial Court in Dublin after several requests for adjournments to see if the parties could hammer out a deal.


The O'Donnells claimed the decision by BoI to pursue them for almost €70m in unpaid property loans had affected their investments because of the negative publicity the legal proceedings attracted.

But BoI claimed Mr O'Donnell wanted them to "simply not call in the money".

The bank's summary judgment application opened before Mr Justice Peter Kelly on Thursday. Yesterday, following discussions, Paul Gardiner for BoI said the matter had been resolved. The only order sought was that the cases be adjourned generally, with the possibility of re-entering if a settlement was not being implemented.

Irish Independent

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