Thursday 18 January 2018

McFeely is depleting his assets, court told

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE woman trying to bankrupt Priory Hall builder Tom McFeely fears the former IRA hunger striker is moving money -- even though his bank accounts have been frozen.

Yesterday, Theresa McGuinness told the High Court she had reason to believe Mr McFeely was "depleting his assets".

Ms McGuinness, of Rush, Co Dublin, applied to the High Court last year to have Mr McFeely declared bankrupt after he failed to pay an award made to her in 2009 against his company, Coalport Ltd.

Ms McGuinness, who is representing herself, was awarded €103,000 in damages against Coalport after it emerged that a house she had bought in 2006 had serious structural defects.

She is also claiming more than €200,000 in costs.

Yesterday, she said she wanted officials from AIB to appear in court to confirm whether Mr McFeely had been moving money out of his company and other accounts.

The move has been opposed by Mr McFeely's lawyers.

They said wide-ranging subpoenas for AIB officials to attend court and give details about Mr McFeely's finances -- and that of his company -- were unnecessary because of the existing freezing orders.


Ms McGuinness told Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne that she believed the orders had "not been adhered to".

Mr McFeely has twice had efforts to be declared bankrupt in the UK rejected.

If he was declared bankrupt in the UK, it would mean he could be debt-free within 12 months. However, it could take up to 12 years to be debt-free if he is declared bankrupt here.

Yesterday, lawyers for court officials in the UK told Judge Dunne that although an appeal against the latest rejection was possible, the Irish courts would decide where Mr McFeely's centre of main interest (COMI) was. This will determine where Mr McFeely will undergo bankrupt proceedings.

Yesterday, the former Anglo Irish Bank asked Judge Dunne to be informed of the COMI proceedings, which will be heard on Thursday next.

The request follows revelations by the Irish Independent that Mr McFeely is a major creditor of ex-banker Michael Fingleton's Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) and withheld details of a €2.5m villa in the Algarve from the bankruptcy courts in the UK.

The INBS was merged last year with the former Anglo Irish Bank, now known as the IBRC.

The IBRC has now been made a notice party to the forthcoming COMI proceedings.

A Supreme Court ruling in an appeal by Mr McFeely against a prison sentence for failing to remedy fire safety defects at Priory Hall is imminent.

Irish Independent

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