Client with multiple loans from Anglo claims he had no income


IN THE COURTS:SECURING A judgment in the courts against someone who obviously owes you money can sometimes be the easy bit.

Yesterday, a Galway builder who was the subject of a judgment for well in excess of €3 million was up before Mr Justice Brian McGovern. James Clancy, Eagle Rock, Furbo, Co Galway, had guaranteed financing from ACC Asset Finance for a machine that cost €3.99 million and was used for the manufacture of prefabricated polystyrene houses.

In an effort to help ACC get its money, Clancy was ordered to file an affidavit providing details of bank accounts, forms filed to the Revenue, his debts and his assets. His own counsel accepted yesterday that the affidavit filed was inadequate.

As he was questioned by Robert Beatty, for ACC, and by the judge, more emerged about Clancy’s business affairs. He had an interest in 11 portfolios of land, all in Galway. He said he had not had any correspondence nor filed any forms to the Revenue Commissioners since 2005, although he did make monthly payments.

He said he had had “no income” since 2007 and, when asked by the judge what he was living on, he replied: “I’m living on fumes.”

His companies had bank accounts but he himself did not have an account that he used for his daily expenses, he said.

Despite all this, he appeared to be able to get finance from the banks, and in particular Anglo Irish Bank. He had received loans from Anglo for his Clanview Construction business. He had “five or six mortgages [with Anglo], maybe more”. He also had mortgages with the Bank of Ireland and the Bank of Scotland (Ireland).

Despite his earlier evidence about having no income, he told the judge that Anglo had been paying him a wage up to four months ago. “Clanview is just about finished now,” he said.

The last time he had been due in court, he had been in Dubai. Asked about this, he explained that he had bought another polystyrene machine in late 2006, for more than €3.6 million, which he had shipped out to Abu Dhabi.

He had gone into business there with a Tariq Mohammed, but had been unable to keep up his end of the deal. His partner had seized the machine.

The loan for this came from Anglo, he said, and was a personal loan. “What was happening in relation to repayments?” the judge asked. “There was nothing happening in respect of the repayments,” he replied.

At one stage Anglo was going to give him more money to save the Abu Dhabi business, but changed its mind. “I got quite a lot of money from Anglo for the building business. They were funding my building business. I purchased two to three sites with Anglo.”

He said he had been in the United Arab Emirates “25 to 30 times” in the past three years and four to five times this year. He was looking at starting up an apartment building business with a partner. Asked how he paid for the flights, he said others had paid for them.

He was given until July 21st to file a proper affidavit and warned by the judge there would be “serious consequences” if it wasn’t adequate.

When he came out of the witness box, ACC served him with a penal endorsement, a move that could see him committed to prison if he does not come up with the required affidavit.

In the afternoon ACC Asset Finance had another case before Mr Justice Clarke, this time concerning Pharmaplaz (the Plaza) Ltd, Pharma Plaz Ltd and Elaborate Homes Ltd and their directors.

The case involved a threat of committal for contempt against one of the directors, Michael Macken, Sorrento Creagh, Bealnamulla, Athlone, Co Roscommon, who represented himself in court.

However, Robert Beatty for ACC Asset Finance said what it really wanted was the return of certain items that had been leased to the companies.

These included an R320 Mercedes with a 2007 registration concerning which, as the judge noted, “there is a great mystery”. This car had formerly been used by Macken’s wife, Patricia Watson, a director of the companies up to January of this year.

Of 17 items that were the subject of business lease and finance lease agreements, 10 had been returned and seven were outstanding, Mr Beatty said. Substantial sums were also owing.

The court heard that on March 30th this year, Macken left his 2006 Mercedes CLK 200 in the car park of an ACC building in Dublin and left the keys at reception.

Eight other items were left in the car park of an ACC outlet in Athlone. Macken was adamant that other items, including the R320, were left at a quarry in Nurney, Co Kildare, where they were collected by an agent of ACC. However, ACC said it had never received possession of some of these items, including the Mercedes. Judge Clarke said he could not rule on a matter of credibility on the basis of evidence on affidavit. He gave ACC the right to call for a full hearing, and adjourned the matter.