Anthony O’Reilly was almost €150m in the red in 2016

US bankruptcy filings show ex-Heinz boss had assets €23m and debts of €170m

Anthony O’Reilly in 2005. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/PA

Anthony O’Reilly in 2005. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/PA

 

Anthony O’Reilly, once Ireland’s richest man, was insolvent to the tune of almost €150 million in his bankruptcy in the Bahamas in March 2016, newly filed US court records show.

A previously undisclosed statement sets out for the first time the former billionaire’s financial affairs after he filed for bankruptcy in the wake of AIB securing a €22.6 million judgment debt against him.

Mr O’Reilly’s lawyers in the Bahamas, where he owned a home, disclosed that the former Heinz chief executive had liabilities of more than €170 million and realisable assets valued at €23 million in March 2016.

ACC Loan Management, which is managing the wind-down of Dutch-owned ACC Bank, was owed the most among the retired businessman’s creditors, holding a debt of almost €47 million. It was followed by the UK’s Lloyds Bank International with €45.6 million and US distressed debt fund Lone Star with €44 million.

Among the Irish banks, AIB was then owed €15.5 million, having reduced its debt by recouping most of the €7.4 million sale proceeds of Mr O’Reilly’s Co Kildare home, Castlemartin.

Bank of Ireland was at the time owed €2.1 million and Ulster Bank €1.2 million, while he owed €7.2 million to Bahamian lender EFG Bank & Trust and €5.7 million to BNY Mellon National Association.

Nurse case

The eight-page snapshot of Mr O’Reilly’s distressed finances in 2016 was submitted in a Pennsylvania court this week by his bankruptcy trustee, Alastair Beveridge. Mr O’Reilly (82) is seeking to block his former personal nurse, Sabina Vidunas, from reopening her long-running case for damages against him.

The former Independent News & Media chief executive wants his Bahamian bankruptcy recognised in the US to stymie Ms Vidunas’s legal claim that he reneged on a promise to give her millions of dollars’ worth of company shares after hiring her in 1995.

His March 2016 statement of affairs, submitted as part of his Pittsburgh court application, lists Ms Vidunas’s legal claim for shares in Heinz and Irish exploration company Providence Resources as a contingent liability. The statement says he believes that the action “has no merit in fact or in law”.

Mr O’Reilly lists his most valuable asset as his Bahamian home, Lissadell, at Lyford Cay. He valued this at more than €13 million.

He valued his shares in Dromoland Castle in Co Clare at €1.9 million. AIB has since sought to take control of these shares. He valued his artwork at €695,000, the contents of his house at €440,000 and company shares and equity in various funds at €325,000.

He had cash in various bank accounts and companies totalling more than €300,000, while his pension and retirement funds were valued at €758,600, most of which he believed was protected from creditors.

A cottage at Castlemartin Stud was estimated to realise €215,200 to go towards repaying AIB’s debt.

ANTHONY O’REILLY’S LIABILITIES (AT MARCH 2016)

ACC Loan Management (formerly ACC Bank): €46.8 million
Lloyds Bank International: €45.6 million
Lone Star fund: €44.4 million
AIB: €15.5 million
EFG Bank & Trust (Bahamas): €7.2 million
BNY Mellon National Association: €5.7 million
Bank of Ireland: €2.1 million
Ulster Bank: €1.2 million
Professional advisers: €1.6 million
Total: €170.3 million*

*Currency exchange rates at euro at March 2016