Alistair Tidey in court battle over asset transfers to wife

Court asked to set aside transfers by developer ahead of bankruptcy

The Commercial Court is being asked to set aside the purported transfer of assets by businessman Alistair Tidey to his wife, Jane. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The Commercial Court is being asked to set aside the purported transfer of assets by businessman Alistair Tidey to his wife, Jane. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

The Commercial Court is being asked to set aside the purported transfer of assets by businessman Alistair Tidey to his wife, Jane.

The action has been brought by the deputy official assignee in bankruptcy arising out of purported transfers between the couple, one of which was described as a “sham” designed to put assets beyond the reach of Mr Tidey’s creditors. The case was admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court list on Monday.

The proceedings are against Mrs Tidey of Mount Eagle, Vico Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin, and two related companies, Universal Concepts Ltd (UCL) and Two Design Investment Ltd (TDIL).

Mrs Tidey, represented by solicitor Graham Kenny, denies any wrongdoing.

The parties are prepared to consider mediating the dispute, the court was told.

Alistair Tidey, a son of Don Tidey, the supermarket boss kidnapped and held to ransom by the IRA in 1983, was adjudicated bankrupt in January 2019, on foot of a claim for €3.49 million arising out of loans obtained from EBS building society in 2003.

He was discharged from bankruptcy earlier this year.

Denis Ryan, the deputy official assignee, represented by Edward Farrelly SC, is in charge of Mr Tidey’s estate. He claims Mr Tidey was, for many years, a successful businessman involved in property development and commercial activity.

List of assets

In a sworn statement, Mr Ryan said Mr Tidey borrowed money from EBS in 2003, which was refinanced in 2006. To secure those loans, Mr Tidey allegedly provided a statement of affairs that gave him a net worth of €36 million, Mr Ryan said. The assets listed in that statement included properties located at Mount Eagle, Vico Road Dublin; Herbert Park, Dublin 4; and Merrion Square, Dublin 2, as well as homes in Italy and Switzerland, 50 per cent of the shares in UCL and 100 per cent of TDIL’s shareholding.

The shareholding in the two companies was estimated in 2006 to be worth about €17 million, Mr Ryan claims.

He said Mr Tidey’s loans with EBS got into difficulty following the economic crash and were acquired by Nama.

Mr Ryan claims that between 2006 and 2010 Mr Tidey came to a position that he had no encumbered assets whatsoever. By late 2010 Mr Tidey, it is alleged, claimed a net asset deficit of €1.35 million in a statement of affairs he provided to Nama.

When adjudicated bankrupt in early 2019 arising out of his failure to repay the loans, Mr Tidey claimed to reside in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He had also claimed he had no assets or income, and was dependent on his wife for his accommodation, clothing and funds, Mr Ryan added.

Share transfer

Mr Ryan claims the transfer of shares in the two companies, which it is claimed had assets including a valuable commercial property in Co Wicklow, by Mr Tidey to his wife was done “to ensure Mr Tidey creditors could not benefit”.

These allegedly fraudulent transfers were done in years while he was wholly insolvent but before he was declared a bankrupt and were motivated by Mr Tidey’s financial difficulties, it is claimed.

Mr Ryan seeks various orders and declarations, including declarations that the purported transfer by Mr Tidey to his wife “constituted a fraudulent conveyance, disposition or transfer” and the transfers should be deemed null and void.

On Monday, Mr Justice David Barniville admitted the deputy official assignee’s action against Mrs Tidey and the two companies to the Commercial Court list and returned it to next month.