Saturday 21 April 2018

Tuskar director's wife also liable for €8.5m judgment

The Four Courts, Dublin
The Four Courts, Dublin

Time Healy

The wife of an accountant and property investor is liable along with her husband for an €8.5m judgment sought against them by a financial institution, the High Court ruled.

Noreen Hynes, wife of the failed Tuskar property group's former director Alan Hynes, had not satisfied Ms Justice Caroline Costello that she has any defence to the judgment application by Ennis Property Finance (EPF) against the couple.

The judge said she is a party who was legally and beneficially entitled to six loans given to the couple between 2003 and 2007 for property developments in Dublin and Wexford.

Mr Hynes had not defended the case.

The loans were originally given by Bank of Scotland Ireland (BOSI) and in 2015 they were assigned to Ennis Property Finance Ms Hynes argued there had been an oral agreement with BOSI that once the couple co-operated with the appointment of a receiver over the properties, which were sold and the proceeds applied to their debt, the bank would not have recourse to the Hynes for any outstanding sums on the loans.

She also claimed the properties were not sold for their full value.

A total of €3.35m was obtained for them and after receivers' expenses and property management expenses were deducted, a sum of €2.8m was applied to their debt.

By March 2014, the outstanding debt stood at €7.2m with daily interest running at more than €1,500.

Ms Hynes also claimed the receiver the bank appointed, Declan Taite, had a conflict of interest and should never have been given that role.

Mr Taite had been a financial advisor to the Hynes before they agreed to go their separate ways, the court heard.

Neither Mr Hynes nor his (Hynes) solicitor objected when Mr Taite told them he would act as a receiver if BOSI thought fit to appoint him, Ms Justice Costello said.

The judge said the conflict of interest claim was misconceived because the Hynes had been informed by Mr Taite's firm, Farrell Grant Sparks, were resigning as the Hynes' financial advisor if the bank appointed Mr Taite receiver.

She also said Mr Taite carried out his duties as receiver in a proper fashion. Ms Hynes had provided no valuations of the properties to support her evidence they were sold for an undervalue.

She also provided no evidence in relation to the alleged oral agreement that the couple would not be pursued for any outstanding balances once the property had been sold, the judge said.

There was also no handwriting expert evidence provided to back up Ms Hynes' claim that she had not signed one of the six loan facility documents, she said.

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