herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Developer brothers got €250k payment from property firm

Developer Richard Larkin’s home, Dollys Grove, in Dunboyne,
Co Meath.
Developer Richard Larkin’s home, Dollys Grove, in Dunboyne, Co Meath.

Developer brothers Michael and Richard Larkin paid themselves €254,633 from the company that is now seeking to remove residents from their rented homes in Tyrrelstown, northwest Dublin.

Between 2013 and 2014, the developers saw fit to almost double the directors' remuneration at Twinlite, the property management company that told residents their leases would not be renewed.

The siblings were the only two listed directors.

Their payment package included pension contributions and, if split equally, amounted to €127,316.50 each.

The latest annual accounts for the company, which were obtained by the Herald, revealed that the brothers shared a remuneration package of €125,358 in 2013, before the big increase the following year.

That pay rise came despite the company's accountants noting that its survival as a going concern was dependent on continued support from shareholders, group companies and financial institutions.

The accounts also showed that staff numbers remained the same in the two years, but that costs for 10 employees increased from €319,606 to €562,824.

The Larkins came into the spotlight after it emerged over the weekend that houses in the Cruise Park estate were to be sold.

It was thought at first that 208 houses were to be vacated.

Over the weekend, Twinlite said in a statement that a company called European Property Fund (EPF) was planning to "exit the residential property market" and had 103 properties in Tyrrelstown that would be sold.

Yesterday, however, a Larkin spokesman told RTE's Liveline that 40 tenants had received letters to leave. "A lot of our tenants are actually buying the houses from us," he said.

The Larkins and Twinlite have tried to distance themselves from the move, claiming that they sold the properties in 2008 to EPF, which then rented them out.

However, High Court records from December 2014 show the brothers were the ultimate beneficiaries of EPF shares.

Affidavit

The information was in an affidavit sworn by Richard Larkin on October 7, 2014.

It was part of a failed case taken by the developers to stop Ulster Bank from selling €89m of development loans to a Goldman Sachs vulture fund.

EPF was listed along with Larkin companies Vieira and Laurelmore as a "qualifying investment fund" which previously went under the name of Davy European Property Fund.

The Herald called to Cedar House, the Dunshaughlin home of Michael Larkin, but there was no response.

There was also no answer at the large Dollys Grove nearby belonging to Richard Larkin.

"We always work with our tenants to assist them in any way we can towards find- ing alternative accommodation," a statement from Twinlite said.

"In the first instance, as a policy, we offer any accommodation that is available in our portfolio to existing ten- ants before we put it on the market. We will continue to do this."

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