herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Investors' €8m land battle in Cape Verde

AN architect and a businessman are suing two other businessmen for €8.5m over alleged default of a settlement relating to an investment in Cape Verde on lands valued at €81m.

The action by Brian Murphy-O'Connor, Greybrook, Waterfall, Cork, and William Edward (Ted) Whitaker, of Summercove, Kinsale, Cork, is against Thomas Sheehy, Seaview House, Scartagh, Clonakilty, and against John Cahillane, of Keel, Castlemaine, Co Kerry.

The proceedings were admitted by Mr Justice Peter Kelly to the Commercial Court.



Islands

The plaintiffs claim they are owed €8.5m under a written settlement agreement of December 14, 2007, following a High Court dispute over a 2005 agreement for the acquisition and development of 150 hectares on Cape Verde, a group of islands in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa.

It is claimed the matter is of significant commercial importance to the plaintiffs' business, having regard to the amount jointly invested by them in connection with the project and the value of the lands, estimated in 2007 as €81m.

It is claimed an agreement of December 8, 2005, stipulated the lands would be held by a Cape Verde company, Murdeira Beach Resort 1 SA, 80pc of which would in turn be held by a Madeira company, Madeira Beach Developments Lda.

The parties would each hold 25pc of the shareholding in the Madeira company while the 20pc shareholding in the Cape Verde company would be held by a local landowner.

The December agreement was later amended so that the defendants acquired further lands in return for which their shareholding in the Cape Verde company was diluted and the local landowner's shareholding increased to 33.4pc.



Breakdown

In an affidavit, Mr Murphy-O'Connor said there was a breakdown in the commercial relationship over the next 18 months and this led to High Court proceedings by the plaintiffs against Mr Sheehy. The sides had agreed to mediation in that case leading to the settlement of December 2007.



Payments

Under the settlement, the defendants were to pay some €11.3m in three separate tranches beginning in March 2008 but, it is claimed, they failed to pay the first tranche as agreed and instead made payments of that tranche in five separate instalments up to May 2008.

hnews@herald.ie

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