Sunday 25 February 2018

Quinlan faces €5m legal action over yacht debt

Outstanding loan taken out for purchase of luxury boat triggers lawsuit against financier


DEREK Quinlan, the financier who owes about €600m arising from a string of high-profile property investments including London's top hotel, Claridges, is being sued over an outstanding loan for his luxury motor yacht.

Although the loan is one of Mr Quinlan's smaller debts at less than €11m, it has triggered the first legal action against the millionaire who swapped his Shrewsbury Road home in Dublin 4 for Switzerland after the collapse of the property market here in 2009.

The legal proceedings were issued last month by Lombard Ireland, which financed Quinlan's €5m motor yacht and other assets.

According to reports earlier this year, Lombard reportedly tried to repossess the 102-ft Falcon motor yacht from a boat yard in Italy. But the yacht is now thought to be worth less than half its value during the boom, leaving Mr Quinlan in negative equity.

Lombard, which is owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, specialises in financing cars, yachts and planes.

A typical 102 Falcon yacht would have five cabins, all extremely comfortable and well equipped. The living area is made up of a large saloon with dining area or formal dining room. The luxury craft comes with VIP staterooms, lacquered wood floors and ceiling in the master stateroom, and state-of-the- art television and sound systems. It usually takes a crew of five.

According to High Court records, Lombard served notice of legal proceedings against Mr Quinlan on July 29 this year. Affidavits setting out the case against Mr Quinlan have yet to be lodged.

Mr Quinlan, a former tax inspector, negotiated a string of headline-making deals for wealthy investors. His most high-profile purchase was the Savoy Hotel Group in London for more than €1.1bn, bought on behalf of an Irish consortium that included developer Paddy McKillen and Riverdance creators Moya Doherty and John McColgan.

He sold the Savoy to a Saudi billionaire but retained the other gems in the group, including the Connaught and Claridges. He later bought the Jury's Inn hotels chain from the Doyle family.

Mr Quinlan was left with significant debts after the collapse of the property market.

He is reported to owe about €600m and some of his personal debts are understood to have been moved into Nama.

He has submitted a business plan to Nama setting out how he proposes to pay off his debts. It is believed that the plan includes selling his three properties on Shrewsbury Road in Dublin, even though property prices at the top end of the market have collapsed. Quinlan also owns an apartment and a house on Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin and a villa in France that cost €40m.

He is also the owner of a valuable art collection.

A spokeswoman for Lombard said: "Lombard Ireland have confirmed that as this case is subjudice, they are unable to comment."

Sunday Independent

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