Court orders freezing of businessman Peter White’s assets

Financial fund alleges businessman trying to dissipate assets to frustrate judgment against him

The judge said he was not prepared to lift the stay on the order granted last July. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

The judge said he was not prepared to lift the stay on the order granted last July. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

The High Court has granted a financial fund an order freezing the assets of businessman and restaurateur Peter White.

The temporary order was granted on consent by Mr Justice Michael Quinn on Monday in favour of Feniton Property Finance DAC, which alleges Mr White has been attempting to dissipate assets to frustrate a €3.9 million judgment against him in favour of the fund.

The claim is denied and the order is to remain in place until the matter returns before the court next month.

The order was sought arising out of proceedings taken by the fund against Mr White and his wife Alicia White, and two related companies seeking monies Feniton says are outstanding from various loans advanced more than a decade ago.

The loans were from Bank of Scotland Ireland but were bought by the fund.

Last July as part of an agreement reached with the Whites and the companies, Dublin Land Securities Ltd, and Blue Nile Holdings Ltd, it was agreed that the court could grant summary judgment totalling €3.9 million against the parties in favour of Feniton.

Feniton sought the summary judgments over monies loaned to the respondents to fund the purchase and refurbishment of properties at Wellington Road, Heytesbury Lane in Dublin 4, and St Stephen’s Green in Dublin, and were put into investment funds.

On consent from the parties, the judge put a stay until December 31st next on the execution of the judgment against Peter and Alicia White.

That agreement was reached the same day that separate proceedings, also involving Feniton, against parties including the Whites’ son, publisher Trevor White, were resolved.

On Monday Feniton, represented by Rossa Fanning SC, returned to the court seeking various orders against Peter and Alicia White arising out of what counsel said was “an attempt to frustrate the judgment by dissipating assets”.

Feniton, said counsel, was seeking orders including one freezing the Whites’ assets and that the stay on the judgment be lifted.

Orders sought

It also sought orders that the Whites be cross-examined and that they provide a statement of affairs detailing how they will fund the judgment.

Jarlath Ryan, for Mrs White, said his client was ill and was neither objecting nor consenting to any order being made against her.

Gavin Mooney, SC for Mr White, said his client did not accept Feniton’s claims concerning dissipation of assets and if pursued would have “plenty to say” on the matter.

However, his client was prepared to consent to the freezing order but asked that the amount be widened to allow for medical expenses Counsel added that his client would swear a statement of affairs, but was opposed to the stay being lifted.

The judge said he was unprepared to make any orders against Mrs White due to her illness. He said he was satisfied to make the freezing orders against Mr White and that he should swear the statement of affairs.

He said Mr White cannot dissipate his assets and cannot spend any more than €5,000, or any other sum subsequently agreed by the parties between now and when the matter returns before the court.

That order is to remain in place until the matter returns before the court in October, the judge added.

The judge said he was not prepared to lift the stay on the order granted last July.