herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

I've no doubt €11.5m debt will be cleared with eight properties still to go up for sale, says Bill

BUSINESSMAN Bill Cullen has told the Commercial Court there is "no doubt" his €11.5m debt to Ulster Bank will be cleared.

He also says he became "so irritated" over the approach of Ulster Bank-appointed receivers in selling assets of his companies that he decided to take legal proceedings.

Mr Cullen, representing himself, said the receivers have reached agreements for the sale of five properties for €8.3m. There were another eight to be sold and it was "clear" the bank would get its money, he said.

target

His "real target" in the case he has brought was the bank and its receivers, and he "might not have got the best advice" in joining more than 20 other parties as defendants, he said. These included companies, individual solicitors and estate agents, he told Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

He needed time to get documents together and perhaps seek legal representation. He was concerned the sales were depriving him of monies to which he was entitled.

Mr Cullen, accompanied by his partner Jackie Lavin, were in court to respond to an application on behalf of Ulster Bank Ireland Ltd, its receivers and its solicitors, Arthur Cox, for Mr Cullen's case to be fast-tracked in the Commercial Court. He wants declarations that he has an interest in lands and properties over which receivers were appointed by Ulster Bank in 2012 and 2013.

He wants declarations that the appointment of receivers in that regard are null and void and has also alleged breaches of Central Bank and consumer protection codes. Mr Justice Kelly said he was satisfied the case was urgent and would transfer it to the Commercial Court, which it will come back to in October.

Bernard Dunleavy BL, for the bank, the receivers, Arthur Cox and for individual partners and solicitors of that firm said it was urgent as it was delaying intended sales of properties.

Counsel said his side were concerned about the "bald" and "wide-ranging" allegations of professional misconduct against professionals.

costs

Mr Cullen was claiming a beneficial interest in 13 parcels of lands over which joint receivers have been appointed.

When Mr Dunleavy said the joint receivers were appointed over companies controlled by Mr Cullen arising from debts of some €13m, Mr Cullen said that debt had been reduced to about €11.5m.

After Mr Cullen indicated his real difficulty was with the bank and receivers, Mr Dunleavy said, if the case was withdrawn against the Arthur Cox firm, partners and solicitors, there may be no costs implications for Mr Cullen arising from his having included those parties as defendants.

hnews@herald.ie

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