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GAA star in court over €8m BoI loan

BANK of Ireland has secured judgment for €7.9m against former hurling star Pearse Piggott who faces trial in Britain over an alleged multi-million euro fraud involving eggs being falsely passed off as free range.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday granted the €7.9m judgment against Piggott (48) and his wife Noelle, of Ballyglennon, Gort, Galway. The judgment orders were not contested.

Mr Piggott played in the Senior Hurling Final in 1986 when Galway lost to Cork but secured a winner's medal 12 months later as a substitute when Galway defeated Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final.

He was also appointed as a selector for the Galway senior hurling team.



extradition

The British authorities last year sought the extradition of Mr Piggott, who runs the egg distribution firm Pearse Piggott & Sons, over his alleged involvement in a fraud between 2004 and 2007 where eggs from caged hens were passed off to British consumers as being free range or organic.

Mr Piggott, who has denied the charges against him including conspiracy to defraud, consented to his extradition. The trial of himself and others related to the alleged fraud has been adjourned to March.

It is alleged that production numbers on eggs were altered, the names of the suppliers were incorrect and the fraud netted a profit of some £1.59m (€1.84m)

In its action, Bank of Ireland claimed summary judgment arising from loans advanced to the couple on dates between February 2006 and November 2007 to restructure existing loans, purchase a pub and adjoining investment property and to invest in certain residential and industrial property.

The bank claimed the defendants agreed in January 2009 to repay all sums due by April 30, 2009, preceded by a specific lump sum reduction spread between the loans.

That lump sum reduction was not made and the facilities were not cleared by April 2009 but the bank agreed to continue the lending facilities provided monies were paid for interest. Some €25,000 was paid by June 2009.

The bank learned from media reports on June 11, 2009, that the UK Revenue was seeking the extradition of Mr Piggott over his alleged involvement in an egg fraud.

The bank later told the defendants they had 21 days to arrange payment of their loans.

hnews@herald.ie