Ireland

A High Court judge will rule next week whether Seán Quinn’s children can pursue a key claim their father unduly influenced them to sign securities for loans of hundreds of millions by Anglo Irish Bank to Quinn group companies, The Irish Times reported. Mr Justice Garrett Simons’s ruling next Wednesday on their application, strongly resisted by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IRBC), could significantly affect the conduct of the marathon litigation by the five children, dating back to 2011, denying any liability for a total €415 million under guarantees.

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For Irish businesses and for the Government’s Brexit economic planning, the latest events threaten that the uncertainty will just roll on, perhaps into the latter part of next week, just before Brexit is scheduled on March 29th, The Irish Times reported. They also show that the risk of a disruptive no-deal Brexit is not off the table.

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Two former senior executives with the Quinn group are “very reluctant” witnesses in the action by Sean Quinn’s adult children disputing any liability under guarantees for loans of more than €415 million, the High Court has been told, The Irish Times reported. Dara O’Reilly and Liam McCaffrey had left the Quinn group after companies were sold, are now employed by the new owners of Quinn Industrial Holdings and both have been subject to “threats and acts of violence”, their counsel Ross Gorman said.

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Seán Quinn’s five adult children unknowingly “put their heads in the noose” for a liability of more than €415 million – €83 million each – as a result of guarantees they signed concerning loans made by Anglo Irish Bank to Quinn companies, the High Court has been told, The Irish Times reported. Mr Quinn had gambled with his children’s property and future when companies in his group got €2.34 billion in loans from Anglo during 2007 and 2008 to fund margin calls on contracts for difference (CFD) positions held by Mr Quinn in the bank, Bernard Dunleavy SC said.

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The High Court has granted summary judgment for €1.59 million against a daughter-in-law of well known developer Paddy Kelly over loans primarily related to the purchase of units in a commercial building in Sandyford, Dublin, The Irish Times reported. AIB sought judgment against Joanna Sloan, wife of Simon Kelly, son of Laois-born Paddy Kelly arising from loans advanced in 2007 for the purchase of units in Sandyford Apex Centre and for the release of equity in two of the units there.

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Denis O’Brien’s saw its debt burden increase in the three months to the end of December as earnings dipped, increasing pressure on the telecoms group as it seeks to lower its borrowings ratios, The Irish Times reported. The Jamaica-based group, which completed a massive debt restructuring earlier this year, told its bondholders on Wednesday that its net debt amounted to 6.8 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation (ebitda) at the end 2018, its fiscal third quarter, according to sources.

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Bank of Ireland’s chief financial officer Andrew Keating expects Irish mortgage interest rates, which have fallen in the past five years, to start increasing again from here on – even though he believes the European Central Bank (ECB) may hold its main rate at zero until 2022, The Irish Times reported. Mr Keating said this was due to the increased amount of expensive shareholders’ money, or capital, that Irish banks have to hold in reserve against mortgages. This is required because of the scale of the mortgage arrears crisis in the Republic in the wake of the 2008 crash.

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It was supposed to be the year when it all came together for Ireland’s banks, with the wind in their sales from a booming economy, newly privatised Allied Irish Banks at full throttle and dividends finding their way into the hands of patient shareholders. Instead, 2018 saw 30 per cent wiped off the market value of Ireland’s two big banks — AIB and Bank of Ireland — as both partially state-owned lenders were hit by Brexit uncertainty and fears over core profitability, the Financial Times reported.

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A personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) which involves writing down a €343,785 mortgage debt by more than half has been approved by the High Court for a woman who ran into mortgage arrears due to her husband’s gambling problem, The Irish Times reported. Permanent TSB objected to the arrangement, insisting the proposed write down of some €343,785 to €160,000, the current agreed market value of the woman’s home, was “draconian”.

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Difficulties getting access to their collateral in the event of loan default means potential new entrants into the State’s mortgage market are likely to “think twice”, the interim chief executive of the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland said. Joe Brennan reports that his comments come against a background of increasing political clamour to make it even more difficult to repossess homes, The Irish Times reported.

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