herald

Sunday 20 August 2017

U2's Larry suing his ex-accountants over claims of €11m loss

U2 drummer Larry Mullen and his partner, Ann Acheson, have sued their former accountants claiming they have suffered significant loss of more than €11m due to allegedly unsuitable investment advice.

The advice related, among other matters, to a €3m investment in a "European hotel fund" and a €4.5m loan for an investment in Romania, it is claimed.

In addition to at least €7m investment losses, the couple claim they have incurred further significant liabilities related to loans issued in connection with the investments and bank funding costs.

The case relates to agreements dating from late 2000, under which Mr Mullen and Ms Acheson allege they retained Gaby Smyth & Company accountants and/or Gaby Smyth, as a sole trader, in relation to their financial, taxation and investment affairs.

Under those agreements, the defendants were to identify suitable investment opportunities in circumstances where the couple had advised on several occasions they had a conservative and low risk approach to investing, it is claimed.

Among various claims, the couple allege they were told in November 2007 that a fund known as the "European Hotel fund" was suitable with "very little risk or downside".

That fund involved a high degree of risk and this was evident from an information memorandum prepared by Goodbody Stockbrokers and PreGroup in October 2007, the couple claim.

Risk

That memo stated the investment "involves a high degree of risk" and investors should "...be able to withstand the total loss of their investment".

But the memorandum was not drawn to the couple's attention, they claim. It is claimed the couple invested €1m in that hotel fund in December 2007 and a further €2m in June 2009.

It is further alleged Gaby Smith Accountants and/or Gaby Smyth continued to record the value of the hotel fund as €3.625m in the couple's accounts until December 21, 2011, despite the existence of financial statements, filed in the Companies Registration Office on September 2010, providing for a 52pc write-down on the cost of that investment.

Larry Mullen with his Partner Ann Acheson (ass Producer) pictured at a Public screening of 'A Man On The Train' which stars in the IFI Cinem
Larry Mullen with his Partner Ann Acheson (ass Producer) pictured at a Public screening of 'A Man On The Train' which stars in the IFI Cinem

Further financial statements filed in September 2011 provided for a further 48pc write down on that cost, it is claimed.

The case also relates to a €500,000 investment by the couple in a property in Timisoara, Romania, and they allege they got a €350,000 loan for that investment.

They are claiming damages, for breach of contract, negligence, and/or negligent misstatement.

The case continues.

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