Solicitor claims Anglo used investors as 'human shields'
A MAN has claimed he and 131 other investors in a property fund marketed by the former Anglo Irish Bank Private Bankers are being used as “a human shield” against default and insolvency to protect the bank’s own interests.
The fund relates to the Whitgift shopping centre and office development in Croydon, London, the Commercial Court heard.
Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo, asked Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday to fast-track into the Commercial Court the action by John Spencer against the bank.
He has claimed damages for alleged negligence by the bank in relation to the Whitgift Geared Property fund in which he invested €1 million.
The fund was marketed by Anglo Irish Bank Private Bankers (now IBRC Wealth Management) to high net worth private investors in autumn 2005. It was arranged by AIBPB in conjunction with Anglo Irish Assurance Company Ltd and involved 132 policyholders investing in life assurance policies whose value was linked to the value of the property assets of the fund.
The purchase of the Whitgift centre was financed through a combination of policyholder premiums, equity from joint venture partners and non-recourse senior borrowings, IBRC said.
Mr Spencer, it alleges, is an “experienced property investor” who, it claims, completed a personal finance review in October 2005 expressing a preference for high-risk investment.
Mr Spencer, a solicitor, of Lakeview, Ballina, Co Tipperary, representing himself, said he had yet to receive proper answers from the bank to about six questions put by him in a letter to it arising from his concerns about the fund.
Mr Justice Kelly said he would transfer the case to the Commercial Court and returned the matter for further directions in December.