Today in the press

Thursday 24 July 2014 10.19
Today in the press
Today in the press

IRISH NATIONWIDE LOST €20M ON SKI RESORT - State-owned Irish Nationwide Building Society lost €20 million on an unorthodox loan to a French ski resort backed by a company owned by Monaco- based businessman Cyril Dennis, reports The Irish Times.

The loan was given by the society, which was set up to help people buy homes, to fund a company called Ice Mountain, which bought two hotels called Isba and Katine in the Courchevel ski resort in the French Alps on behalf of Mr Dennis.

Irish Nationwide liquidator KPMG claims the loan breached the society’s internal rules and policies numerous times and as a result should not have been granted.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Mr Dennis or his company.

KPMG is seeking damages as a result of this loan and other exotic loans from both the board of Irish Nationwide and its executives, managing director Michael Fingleton and former finance director Stan Purcell.

Irish Nationwide’s former officers deny any wrongdoing, and plan to argue that the Central Bank and KPMG, as auditors of the society, had a role in the events that led to the society’s collapse with a loss to the State of €5.4 billion.

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AER LINGUS PENSION RESOLUTION UNDER THREAT - Efforts to resolve a long-running dispute over a €780m hole in a workers' pension fund at the Dublin Airport Authority and Aer Lingus were under threat last night, according to The Irish Independent.

SIPTU's pensions committee at the Dublin Airport Authority yesterday rejected proposals from a government- backed expert panel aimed at resolving the crisis at the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme.

The move could threaten a deal that would prevent the huge pensions scheme from being wound up. The DAA last night said it had not yet received formal notification of SIPTU's rejection.

A Department of Transport spokesman pointed out that the DAA and Aer Lingus boards had already accepted the panel's recommendations.

"The department remains of the view that this represents the best means of resolving this issue and giving people certainty and clarity about their pension entitlements down the line," said the spokesman.

Siptu is expected to issue further details on the rejection of the proposals today.

A number of issues are understood to have concerned it, including raising the retirement age for fire service crew. It was also concerned about the scale of proposed cuts.

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LYNCH’S FAMILY ‘ENTITLED TO FURTHER HEARING’ - The Irish Examiner reports that the wife and children of businessman Philip Lynch are entitled to a further hearing to determine whether AIB is entitled to €26m judgment orders against them over an unpaid development loan, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The High Court had ruled Mr Lynch, his wife Eileen and adult children — Judith, Paul, Philippa and Therese — were all liable for the €25m loan advanced to the Lynch family and developer Gerry Conlan to buy 86 acres at Kilbarry, Waterford.

The proposed development was expected to lead to a €20m profit but the lands in 2011 were valued at less than €5m. It later ruled AIB was entitled to judgment for €26m against the Lynchs but a stay applied pending appeal.

Last January, the Supreme Court dismissed Mr Lynch’s appeal on all grounds but said his family were entitled to an opportunity to argue it would not be equitable to allow AIB enforce the €26m judgment against them or, at least, to do so without first pursing execution of that against Mr Lynch and Mr Conlan.

The matter returned to the Supreme Court for submissions on the implications of the judgment and other issues, including costs.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell said that to a large extent, the entire case in both the High and Supreme Courts turned upon issues of credibility in which, for whatever reason, no distinction was made between Mr Lynch and his family.