Sunday 20 October 2019

Judge brings conspiracy theorist down to earth

Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

JIM Corr has often been accused of throwing conspiracy theories around like snuff at a wake. But few debtors could have drummed up what his nemesis, ACC Bank, has described as the "extraordinary and unusual sequence of coincidences" surrounding the sale of properties he owned after the non-NAMA lender hit him with demands to repay a €1.4m debt.

For almost three hours in the High Court, the 48-year-old fended off suggestions that he sold mortgage-free properties at a time when he knew ACC was breathing down his neck and seeking proposals to satisfy debts he says were built up with his former business partners, Liam and Phillip Marks.

In one case, he sold an unencumbered apartment in the exclusive Sharman House development in Northern Ireland to a German.

Mr Corr said he met Florian Karrer at a party in his sister's friend's house in Majorca. A month later, Mr Corr sold the apartment to Mr Karrer for £295,000 (€349,000) and asked if he could live there rent-free for three years.

Mr Karrer, whose website says it creates "innovative cross-border structures that meet the protective, tax avoidance and privacy requirements of our international client base", said he could.

The plot thickened when Mr Corr said he only knew Mortimer Walters "fleetingly" before he sold the Sharman House apartment in November 2010 to Mr Karrer.

Mr Walters is Mr Karrer's partner in the Andorra-based capital protection business, and the Irish solicitor who founded Adams, the legal firm in the IFSC. Adams represented Mr Corr when ACC moved against him, and acted for I and E, a Maltese company that bought his Donnybrook Castle apartment for €350,000 a month after ACC got a €1.4m judg-ment against him in February 2011.

I and E, which returned a zero turnover for 2011, was fronted by Mike Young, an associate of Mr Walters.

But Mr Corr said he had "no idea" what structure Mr Young – who rang him "out of the blue" to buy the Dublin apartment – had put in place.

It got a bit much for High Court Judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly, who asked Mr Corr if he would like to "reconsider his evidence", reminding him that he was under oath.

After a prolonged silence during which the musician stared at the courtroom ceiling, he quietly admitted he was trying to protect his finances as best he could on behalf of his son.

"I recognised I was in dire straits," he said, adding: "I did what anybody would do."

The case resumes on July 3.

Irish Independent

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