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Stokes brothers blew €146k ... and put it all on the company

TWO brothers spent almost €146,000 on personal expenses using money from their now wound-up Dublin restaurant, the High Court heard.

The "Bang Cafe" was wound up last year with debts of €2.4m -- but Simon and Christian Stokes spent the €146,000 over an 18-month period on expenses including hotels and restaurants in Ireland, London, Denmark and Barbados.

The Stokes also ran the Residence private members club in Dublin which also went into receivership last year.

The brothers agreed to court orders yesterday restricting them from acting as directors of companies for five years unless those companies meet minimal capital requirements.

Mayfair Properties Ltd, the Stokes company which operated the Bang Cafe, also owes more than €470,000 to the Revenue, the court heard.

A separate application by Tom Murray, liquidator of Mayfair Properties Ltd, seeking to disqualify the brothers from involvement in the management of any company, on grounds of unfitness, was adjourned for three weeks.

An examination by Mr Murray of credit card statements between January 2007 and June 2009 showed large sums of Mayfair company monies were used to pay personal bills incurred by Simon Stokes.

They included €2,421 to the Coral Reef Club, Barbados; €1,891 to Blakes' Hotel in London; €4,425 to the Gucci Store in New York; $2,000 to the Professional Golfers Association in Blackrock; €2,277 to the Skovshoved Hotel Denmark; €2,621 to Brown Thomas in Dublin and €6,494 to Pia Bang Interiors in Dublin.

Credit card payments in the name of Christian Stokes between January 2007 and June 2009 included €3,835 to Ashford Castle; €2,091 to Maroma Resort & Spa in the Caribbean and €2,011 to the Skovshoved Hotel, Denmark. In an affidavit, Mr Murray outlined several concerns about the operation of Mayfair including outstanding Revenue payments, personal use of company credit cards, inter-company loans and failure to submit accounts.

Mr Murray said the company should have been liquidated earlier as, from 2005, the shareholders did not financially support the company and in fact drew directors loans from it. The company had generated a loss from 2005 to 2010, he said.

hnews@herald.ie