Thursday, January 19, 2023

High Court reporters

An action in which a property investor sued developer Greg Kavanagh for €6.4 million over an alleged debt related to loans to his company and over personal guarantees has been settled.

Anne O’Neill, of Mount Pleasant Square, Dublin, sought judgement for the money against Mr Kavanagh, of Shaw’s Lane, Bath Avenue, Dublin, claiming he failed to meet a demand for repayment issued in May 2020.

The case was due for hearing in the High Court on Thursday when Ms Justice Miriam O’Regan was told it had been settled. The judge agreed to adjourn generally with liberty to re-enter the case should it be required.

The case first came before the court in 2020 when Mr Kavanagh, a director of Ballycrag Developments — which was struck off the Companies Register in 2019 — refuted liability for the monies and said he has a good defence and counterclaim to the claim.

In 2020, Ms O’Neill sought to have the case entered into the High Court’s fast track commercial division but was refused because of a four-year delay between when the debt became due and proceedings were taken. The case then went into the court’s ordinary non-jury list.

Forbearance

In her action, Ms O’Neill had claimed that while Mr Kavanagh’s liability to her became enforceable in May 2016, she had, at his request, given him forbearance as a result of representations he made at different stages that he would discharge the monies due.

She claimed she made two loans to Ballycrag Developments in September and December 2013, totalling €975,000, with Ballycragh providing security in the first fixed charge over a property called Wynnstay House, Clonskeagh, Dublin.

Ms O’Neill said that loan was consolidated in January 2014 into a €2 million loan with 20 per cent interest.

Mr Kavanagh also entered into a personal guarantee and indemnity agreement with her in November 2015 to guarantee the obligations of Ballycrag to her, she said. Under that, it was agreed the amount then owing was €2.8 million plus interest, she claimed.

Since February 2016, Mr Kavanagh outlined “various scenarios” which would result in repayment but “none came to fruition”, Ms O’Neill further claimed.

She believed it was used as “a means of deflection, delay and prevarication” to persuade her against taking legal action.

In an affidavit, Mr Kavanagh, a director of Structured Marshalled Investments Ltd, claimed it was Ms O’Neill’s husband who had invested the monies “through Ms O’Neill effectively as his proxy, agent or alter ego”.

Far from showing forbearance, as she claimed, she and more particularly her husband had been vigorous in making demands and threats of enforcement against him, including threatening to seek the winding up of Ballycrag, Mr Kavanagh said.

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