Fund secures judgment against businessman over €1.32m debt

Judge says no bona fide defence to claim for repayment by property finance fund

In his High Court judgment on Friday, Mr Justice Séamus  Noonan said all that was raised in regard to the alleged compromise were “mere assertions” which were “not supported by any evidence”. Photograph: Alan Betson

In his High Court judgment on Friday, Mr Justice Séamus Noonan said all that was raised in regard to the alleged compromise were “mere assertions” which were “not supported by any evidence”. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A financial fund is entitled to summary judgment of €1.32 million against a Dublin businessman, the High Court has ruled.

Mr Justice Séamus Noonan ruled that John Walls, of Coney Hill, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, had failed to establish he had a fair or reasonable probability of raising a bona fide defence to the claim by Launceston Property Finance DAC.

“It is clear to me that Mr Walls has no defence,” he said.

Launceston had acquired a portfolio of loans from IBRC in 2014, including loans of approximately €1 million that the since nationalised Anglo Irish Bank advanced to Mr Walls in 2008.

In November 2016, Launceston demanded repayment of €1.32 million from the businessman. When the demand was not satisfied, Launceston initiated High Court proceedings seeking summary judgment.

In opposing summary judgment, Mr Walls submitted that he had an arguable defence to the claim and that the court should remit the matter to a full plenary hearing.

Binding agreement

Mr Wall’s grounds claimed the demand for payment had been subject of a binding agreement entered into between the parties in 2016. He claimed a compromise had been negotiated between his solicitor, James Flynn, and an asset manager with Pepper Finance Corporation, who acted as agents for Launceston.

Launceston denied any binding compromise between the parties had been entered into and argued Mr Walls had no defence to summary judgment.

In his judgment on Friday, Mr Justice Noonan said all that was raised in regard to the alleged compromise were “mere assertions” which were “not supported by any evidence”.

Nothing had been advanced to the court by the defendant that would allow the court conclude an arguable case had been raised on this point, he said.

He also dismissed arguments raised on Mr Wall’s behalf that Anglo’s decision to advance monies to Mr Walls was made without any adequate investigation or inquiry into his capacity to repay the amount borrowed.

Misconceived

Mr Justice Noonan said an argument that this gave rise to a defence of contributory negligence by the lender was misconceived.

Claims that Launceston’s proofs were not in order because the loan transfer deed evidencing the transfer of his loan to the fund was heavily redacted were also rejected. In claims of this nature, it is accepted that plaintiffs are entitled to redact documents for reasons of commercial sensitivity and privacy rights of third parties, he said.