Updated: 21/02/17 : 05:29:55
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Sligo shopping centre units sale offered in loan settlement

Judgment orders are being sought against John Hughes, the former head of AIB business banking in Eyre Square, Galway, and Tom Browne, a former senior Anglo Irish Bank executive.

The orders are being sought by Promontoria (Aran) Ltd, the subsidiary of the US fund business Cerberus, which bought a multi-billion loan book from Ulster Bank which was in turn linked to 5,400 properties in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

According to The Irish Times, the Commercial Court, which has agreed that the case will be heard on May 11th, has heard there are three sets of proceedings involved, all three involving Mr Hughes and only one involving Mr Browne. Mr Hughes is the only defendant in a second case, and he and his wife, Margaret, are the defendants in the third.

In the documents filed in the court Mr Hughes and Mr Browne are described as property developers, with addresses respectively at Unit 9, Dockgate, Dock Road, Galway, and Brighton Road, Foxrock, Dublin. Mr Browne, who at one stage was considered likely to head up Anglo following the departure of Seán FitzPatrick as chief executive, is now a senior executive with corporate advice firm LeBruin Private.

Quayside


The case involving the two men arises from loans issued by Ulster Bank to them in February 2011 and involving more than €3.3 million. The loans were linked to properties at the Quayside Shopping Centre, Sligo, and the Liosbán Industrial Estate, Co Galway and involved the continuation of facilities issued at an earlier date.

In dealings with their loans, the men discussed with Capita, a financial services firm working for Promontoria, that they would consider selling properties in Barna, Co Galway, and Bloomfield Avenue, Dublin, a site in Derryeighter, Co Galway, three units at Quayside Shopping Centre, Sligo, and two apartments in Oughterard, Co Galway.

Mr Browne at one stage complained to Capita about its attitude towards his debts but the firm replied that it could understand his disappointment but that it was not reasonable to argue that it had adopted an “overly aggressive approach”.

Mr Hughes has lodged a complaint with the Financial Services Ombudsman in relation to the loans involved in all three cases and argues that the proceedings should not go ahead until this matter is first dealt with.

In relation to one of the loans, Mr Hughes has argued that he had an oral agreement with his relationship manager at Ulster Bank, Marie Neenan O’Brien, that if he sold a property at 12 Ailesbury Wood, Ailesbury Road, Dublin, the bank would not pursue him or his wife for any shortfall. The property was sold “voluntarily” in March 2014, leaving a €1.1 million shortfall.

He has also disputed aspects of the evidence put forward by Promontoria in relation to a €500,000 debt arising from a current account in his and his wife’s name. The US firm is seeking a total of €1.77 million from the couple.