Perry’s grip on ministry becoming more tenuous
Unexpected news of his tax difficulties while in office has only amplified questions over his future
The Minister attended talks with Danske’s credit department at 9am on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012. Perry opened by saying BoI had resolved to “assist” in relation to his tax arrears. “He has already paid Revenue three instalments of 8k in reduction of 125k liability,” says the bank’s minute of the meeting. In relation to miscellaneous creditors, he believed the debts could be settled for €125,000 and said AIB had agreed to provide an 11-year facility. “He said that he receives salary/expenses of [€] 9,200 per month which will cover the BoI/AIB loans,” Danske’s note says.
The minute records Perry optimism in relation to the a new supermarket tenant: “He advised that Barry group are trading strongly in the supermarket and are targeting to increase annual turnover to [€]5 million over time. He said this would put a value of [€]2 million on the store. (Turnover in year to September 2011 under Perry management was [€]2,157k.)” .
“His aim is to have Barry group purchase the store at a future date and he asked if we would accept a discount on our loan in such a situation. I responded that this would not happen and we would look for full repayment of our debt.”
A review meeting was called at 3pm on Monday, April 16th, 2012, at which Perry suggested that Danske reduce the interest on the loan to match rental income from the supermarket. “We advised that the bank is losing money on the loan because of the low interest rate.”
Perry said he received an €88,000 loan from Bank of Ireland to discharge his tax arrears. “He advised that the Revenue debt has now been paid off,” Danske’s minute of the meeting says. AIB had also advanced him €125,000.
Two AIB charges on a property he owns in Co Sligo were registered on June 13th, 2012. A BoI charge in respect of his half of a separate property was registered a day later.
By January 31st this year, Danske advised Perry that it was at “end-game” in relation to its patience. Perry expressed shock at the bank’s aggressive approach and alluded to the personal consequences “with his job” of action by the bank to call in the loan.
All the while, of course, Perry was a Minister in the lower tier of Government with important duties. On April 16th this year, for example, he was in the news for asking bank chiefs to an advisory group meeting to discuss lending and debt problems with small and medium-sized business. The next day, Perry was back in Danske for talks. An official “advised that Danske was in the lucky position that we could talk settlements, but that it was up to J.P. to come to us with his realistic proposals to start the ball rolling.” In the event the ball did not roll. A moment of truth now looms.