U.S. Judge Approves Sale of Ireland's Soured-Loan Portfolios

A U.S. bankruptcy judge signed off on the sale of some €15 billion ($20.6 billion) of soured loans on the books of what was once one of Ireland's largest banks as the country digs out from the wreckage of its collapsed property market, The Wall Street Journal reported. Judge Christopher Sontchi on Tuesday approved Irish Bank Resolution Corp.'s sale of the loan portfolios at a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. IBRC, a state-backed bank liquidating the former Anglo Irish Bank Corp., is selling the bad loans at a discount to a group of distressed-debt buyers, including affiliates of Lone Star Funds, Deutsche Bank AG, and Goldman Sachs Group. Liquidators sought approval from the U.S. bankruptcy judge because of ties that some of the loans have to the U.S. Such ties include properties located in the U.S., or a borrower who is a U.S. resident or has become one since the loan was made. The green light from Judge Sontchi allows the sales to go through free of liens, claims and encumbrances as part of a Chapter 15 bankruptcy proceeding in the U.S. that is linked to the Irish recovery. The deals relieve Irish taxpayers of the worry of cleaning up after Anglo Irish Bank Corp. and Irish Nationwide Building Society, which were swept under when prices for homes and commercial real estate collapsed during the global financial crisis. Read more. (Subscription required.)