herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Shane's solo bid to pay €23m debt

Westlife star Shane Filan is hoping a highly successful solo career can rebuild his financial affairs following bankruptcy.

THE 32-year-old -- who has been declared bankrupt for outstanding debts of €23m -- has four record companies vying for the rights to his debut solo album.

The dad-of-three, who moved his family from their lavish Sligo home over to Surrey before Christmas, admitted he had "exhausted all options" before filing for bankruptcy at Kingston County Court in south-west London earlier this week

A statement released by the chart-topper, currently with his band on their farewell tour, said yesterday: "Together with a team of financial and legal experts I have spent months exploring all possible alternatives to bankruptcy but to no avail.

"I have worked long and hard to try to reduce my debts, and I am devastated that it came to this conclusion."

The pop star has sold 43 million records worldwide with Westlife, however Shane couldn't stop his property company Shafin Developments, which he set up with his brother Finbarr, from going into receivership in May.

The family-owned company borrowed millions from the Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank during the boom, to construct a 90-home estate in Dromahair, Co Leitrim.

When recently inspected, it was discovered that just 50 homes had been built and a number of them sold for less than the cost of completion.

In addition, a series of other projects, including a supermarket in Leitrim and a nursing home in Sligo, also came to a halt.

The Connacht man has vowed to "rebuild" a stable financial future for his wife Gillian and their kids.

"I now intend to focus on the remaining dates of the Westlife tour and my commitments to the band before looking to rebuild a future for my wife, my three children and myself," Shane said.

A member of Westlife since 1998, Shane is expected to embark on his solo career once he finishes up his final tour with Kian Egan, Nicky Byrne and Mark Feehily in Dublin's Croke Park.

He is set to release his debut album as a solo artist next year and currently has four major record labels fighting to sign him.

Music mogul Louis Walsh will manage the singer and has tipped him as the next Michael Buble.

X Factor judge Louis said: "Shane is going to have a massive career after Westlife. He's going to have a great solo career and make millions. He'll start all over again and remake the riches in no time at all.

"He had no money when he started off before Westlife, and now he'll make it all back."

labutler@herald.ie

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