Saturday 21 September 2019

Bankrupt Mick Wallace has debts of more than €30 million

Mick Wallace.
Mick Wallace.

WEXFORD Deputy Mick Wallace has been adjudicated bankrupt at the High Court on foot of a €2 million judgment. Mr Wallace's total debts exceed €30 million, the court heard.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello yesterday (December 19) granted the bankruptcy petition by Promontoria (Aran) Ltd fund arising from a €2m judgment obtained after the fund took over the TD's debt to Ulster Bank.

Promontoria is owned by US fund giant Cerberus, the fund at the centre of allegations made in the Dáil by Mr Wallace concerning the acquisition of Nama's €5.7 billion Northern Ireland portfolio. The substance of those allegations is now subject to investigations in the UK and US.

The loans taken over by Promontoria are linked to M&J Wallace, one of Mr Wallace's pre-crash Dublin businesses, but are also understood to be backed by personal guarantees, leaving the TD liable if the business could not pay the debt.

While a TD would until 2014 automatically lose their seat if declared bankrupt, that is no longer the position.

The Irish Independent reports that when the matter first came before the court in November, Mr Wallace sought an adjournment to allow him engage with an insolvency practitioner and prepare a statement of affairs.

The court heard the Independent TD was also exploring possible alternatives to bankruptcy and engaging with Allied Irish Banks in a bid to save his family home.

Yesterday, the judge heard ACC Loan Management, Mr Wallace's dominant creditor, was written to by a Personal Insolvency Practitioner for Mr Wallace as to whether it would waive a secured debt cap so as to allow him prepare a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA). ACC had replied it was not prepared to do so.

Barrister Edward Farrelly, for Promontoria, said he understood the total indebtedness was more than €30 million. Barrister Keith Farry, for Mr Wallace, who was in court, said his client had a statement of affairs in court.

However, in the circumstances, there was no reality to Mr Wallace further defending the petition as his client was not eligible to make a proposal for a PIA, counsel said. Ms Justice Costello said she was satisfied the fund had met the requirements of the Bankruptcy Act and she would grant its petition to adjudicate Mr Wallace a bankrupt.

After the adjudication, Mr Farry said his client would co-operate fully with the bankruptcy process.

The adjudication means that for a period of at least 12 months all of Mr Wallace's assets will be in the control of the Official Assignee, Christopher Lehane, who can seek to sell them to realise whatever value he can for creditors.

Speaking to Mr Wallace said he would not be stopped from criticising the purchase by Cerberus of Nama's Northern Ireland loans portfolio, Project Eagle, for €1.6bn in 2014. 'I am going to continue what I am doing for the moment,' he said. Mr Wallace also hit out at insolvency legislation, which allows creditors owed €3m or more veto attempts by a debtor to come to a personal insolvency arrangement.

Wexford People

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