Updated: 14/06/12 : 06:03:59
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Westlife's Shane Filan Declared Bankrupt In UK

WESTLIFE STAR and Sligo man Shane Filan’s property debts have forced him into bankruptcy in Britain.

Ulster Bank recently took control of Shafin Developments, the property business he owned with his brother, Finbarr, which owed it €5.5 million, while Bank of Ireland was also pursuing him for property-related debts.

The Irish Times has reported that became known yesterday that Kingston-upon-Thames County Court in London declared Mr Filan bankrupt at a hearing earlier this week.

The ruling means his assets are transferred to an official appointed by the court and used to settle his debts, while he is allowed an income to support himself and any dependants. His name has also been published on Britain’s insolvency register which gives details of all individual bankruptcy rulings.

The register describes Mr Filan as a singer and gives his address as Cobham, Surrey. He, wife Gillian Walsh and their three children, moved to Britain some time ago.

'Discharged'

Mr Filan will be discharged on June 11th next year. At that point, all debts due to his creditors, including his Irish creditors, will be considered cleared.

He will not be able to borrow money or act as a company director until he is discharged.

The 32-year-old married father-of-three said he had "exhausted all options" before filing for bankruptcy and vowed to "rebuild" a nest egg for himself and his family.

He said: "Following increasing financial difficulties, and having exhausted all other options, earlier this week I was declared bankrupt. It was a very difficult decision to take, but the most responsible course of action, given the debts I owe to banks on property investments.

"Together with a team of financial and legal experts I have spent months exploring all possible alternatives to bankruptcy but to no avail. I have worked long and hard to try to reduce my debts, and I am devastated that it came to this conclusion.

"I now intend to focus on the remaining dates of the Westlife tour and my commitments to the band before looking to rebuild a future for my wife, my three children and myself," he told the Irish Independent last night.

Westlife will break up once its farewell world tour ends later this month. Just weeks ago, Mr Filan agreed a solo record deal with entertainment giant Universal.

Westlife have sold more than 44 million records worldwide – including 15 number one singles and seven number one albums in the Irish/UK charts – since their formation in 1998 when their manager, Louis Walsh, held Dublin auditions for a younger Boyzone-type boy band.

Mr Filan issued a statement yesterday confirming the ruling and saying he had exhausted all other means of dealing with his financial difficulties. He said it was the most responsible course of action to take in light of his property-related debts.

“Together with a team of financial and legal experts I have spent months exploring all possible alternatives to bankruptcy but to no avail,” he said. “I have worked long and hard to try to reduce my debts and I am devastated that it came to this conclusion.”

It has been knownfor some time Mr Filan was in financial difficulties.

Shafin Developments borrowed money from Ulster Bank in 2006, at the height of the property boom, to fund developments in the northwest, where he is from. Its assets include four residential properties, a partly-developed site at Dromahair, Co Leitrim and an interest in a site at Carraroe, Co Sligo.

Mr Filan is the latest in a line of Irish people who have declared bankruptcy in the UK because of its easier insolvency laws.