AIB case against O'Reilly for Commercial Court

Monday 26 May 2014 15.20
AIB sought a summary judgment order against the businessman to allow it to take measures to recover outstanding debts
AIB sought a summary judgment order against the businessman to allow it to take measures to recover outstanding debts

An action being taken by AIB against businessman Tony O'Reilly in relation to debts of more than €22 million has been admitted to the fast track division of the Commercial Court.

Allied Irish Banks is seeking a summary judgment order against Mr O'Reilly to allow it to take action to recover the outstanding debts.

That application has now been adjourned to 23 June.

Lawyers for Mr O'Reilly and the two companies - Indexia and Brookside - said they accepted the monies had been borrowed and were repayable.

Lawyers for the bank, told the Commercial Court that the sums of money owed, fell due in 2010 and 2012.

Senior Counsel Michael Collins said the bank had given time to the defendants to come to an accommodation.

He said there had been two separate standstill agreements, and Mr O'Reilly and his companies had been given every possible opportunity to try to reach an agreement.

Mr Collins said legal action had been taken only after extensive warnings and notice had been given to the defendants.

The bank had no option but to take this action, he said.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly asked lawyers for Mr O'Reilly if his client had any defence to the bank's claim.  

Lawyers for Mr O'Reilly said his client accepted that the monies had been borrowed and that the sums of money were repayable.

But barrister Bernard Dunleavy asked for a short period of time to file a sworn document in response to the bank's claim.

He said there may be matters that would be appropriate to bring to the court's attention.

Mr Dunleavy said he had no wish to waste the court's time and if the court could afford him some patience and adjourn the matter "a particular course may be taken."

Mr Justice Kelly said there was no line of defence being offered by Mr O'Reilly or his companies in the voluminous documents he had before him.

He said it was not the normal practice of the court to adjourn an application for summary judgment if no line of defence was being offered.

But he said he was prepared to give one opportunity to enable "whatever was to take place" to happen.

He gave Mr O'Reilly ten days to file a reply to the bank's claim and he listed the matter for 2pm on 23 June.

Mr O'Reilly had borrowed heavily in an attempt to rescue glass and ceramics company Waterford Wedgwood from financial difficulty.

But the company collapsed in 2009.

Mr O'Reilly and his brother-in-law, Peter Goulandris, had poured €400m into the company and guaranteed loans.

Mr O'Reilly was one of Ireland's richest men and owned almost 30% of Independent News and Media.

AIB has issued proceedings against Mr O'Reilly and two of his companies - Brookside, which owns one of his properties in Glandore, CoCork, and Indexia, which is registered in Cyprus.

Mr O'Reilly is 78 years old and still holds substantial shareholdings in Independent News and Media as well as oil company, Providence Resources.

Keywords: anthony o'reilly