Sean FitzPatrick’s wife’s claim over 19 assets to be heard in April

IBRC, along with bankruptcy trustee Chris Lehane, oppose claims by Catriona Fitzpatrick

The Four Courts. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

The Four Courts. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

 

A dispute over the entitlement of the wife of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick to an interest in “substantial” assets held in his sole name will be heard next April at the High Court.

Certain witnesses may have to be subpoenaed for the hearing and a statement concerning the source of funding for the 19 assets has yet to be agreed between the sides, Ms Justice Marie Baker was told on Tuesday during a case management hearing.

Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, along with Mr FitzPatrick’s bankruptcy trustee Chris Lehane, are opposing the claims of Catriona FitzPatrick.

The case centres on a clause in a February 2009 loan agreement between Anglo and Sean and Catriona FitzPatrick and their three children. She claims the clause limits the recourse of State-owned IBRC (which acquired Anglo after its collapse) against herself and her children.

Various assets

Mr FitzPatrick was adjudicated a bankrupt in 2010 with debts of €147 million and assets said to be worth some €47 million. He exited bankruptcy three years ago.

After Ms FitzPatrick claimed entitlement in 2012 to various assets, Mr Lehane and IBRC took separate but related proceedings in 2014 arguing she has no legal, equitable or beneficial interest in assets in the sole name of her husband.

Mr Lehane claims the clause in the 2009 agreement comprises a settlement of property by Sean FitzPatrick, a bankrupt, that was not made in good faith and for valuable consideration, and in breach of the Bankruptcy Act. He wants orders setting aside the purported settlement.

IBRC claims Ms FitzPatrick has no legal, equitable or beneficial interest in assets held in the sole name of her husband and claims it was an implied term of the 2009 loan agreement she would not claim such an interest.

The sides have agreed 10 issues that need to be decided, including if IBRC is entitled to recission of the relevant clause on grounds of mistake and/or misrepresentation.

On Tuesday, Declan McGrath SC, for IBRC, said his side had written to Mr FitzPatrick, who is not a party to the case, seeking documents. Mr FitzPatrick had raised issues about the costs of discovering those and had not committed to discovery. IBRC would address his costs query and, depending on Mr FitzPatrick’s response, an application for non-party discovery may be brought.

The statement on source of funding had yet to be agreed but both sides would deliver their witness statements concerning the 10 issues by December 15th, he said.

Value of assets

Kenneth Bredin, for Mr Lehane, said the trustees needed vouching back up documents from third party fund managers before they could address some issues raised by Ms FitzPatrick. His side did not envisage any dispute on the realisation values of the assets and the dispute rather concerned how the assets were purchased and how funding for the purchases was obtained.

Jacqueline O’Brien SC, for Ms FitzPatrick, received a week to respond to the additional material to be obtained by Mr Lehane’s office. Her side was entitled to agree on a source of funds document and “can’t have one imposed on us” but only small aspects of that statement were affected, she said.

This was an important issue for Ms FitzPatrick as she has to prove the source of funds, Ms O’Brien said. Certain assets were held in joint names and her side needed information from Mr Lehane as to what sale proceeds have been realised and where they are.

The judge said Ms FitzPatrick’s side should write to Mr Lehane setting out in the “greatest detail” possible the information they require. She also said she will deal next week with a pre-trial application for orders requiring sworn answers to six questions.