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Sick Jim Mansfield 'I won't dodge debt'

Businessman vows to help creditors owed €192m after collapse of his Citywest empire

SERIOUSLY-ILL businessman Jim Mansfield has vowed to do everything he can to pay his creditors who are owed €192m following the collapse of his Citywest empire.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Independent, the former billionaire confirmed that while he was not personally liable for the debts of his company, HSS, due to its ownership in turn by an Isle of Man registered vehicle, he would do everything possible to pay back the monies his business owed.

Asked what he had to say to his creditors, Mr Mansfield said: "The €192m is mostly made up of money that is owed to the bank, and that depends an awful lot on the value of the [Citywest] properties and, as you know, values have plummeted. There probably won't be enough money for the bank, but we hope from other sources to be able to pay the local people we owe. I can't be more sorry than what I am."

Commenting on the fact that he is not personally liable for the €192m debt of HSS, he said: "That's true. On the advice of our auditors four or five years ago, everyone was going unlimited and we did the same thing. We've had all our tax audits since and the whole thing is up to date. We paid a huge amount of tax in our time and employed many people in the area, so that's all I can say about that."

Asked if he wasn't just walking away from his creditors, he said: "That's not my intention at all. I've walked away worse than they did. I put every shilling into building that convention centre without bank money at the time."

Asked how much of his own money he had invested in the development of the convention centre, Mr Mansfield said: "A massive amount. The personal money I can't get back. I'd say €12m. If I had that money today, they could all give out all they liked!"

Mr Mansfield's hotel business was placed into voluntary liquidation on Friday following months of uncertainty.

The family business, HSS, was placed into receivership last July by Bank of Scotland, which is owed €140m.

Sunday Independent