Declan Ganley writes off €3.2m in loans to Libertas Institute

Company used in campaigns against EU treaty referendums no longer a going concern

Declan Ganley had provided the loans to the Libertas Institute at an interest rate of 11 per cent. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Declan Ganley had provided the loans to the Libertas Institute at an interest rate of 11 per cent. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Declan Ganley has written off more than €3.2 million in loans to the Libertas Institute Limited, a corporate vehicle used by the businessman in campaigns against a number of EU treaty referendums since 2006.

The company is no longer a going concern and its directors, Mr Ganley and his brother Sean Ganley, have signalled their intention to have the company struck off within the next 12 months.

More than €3.2 million in loans were repayable to Mr Ganley at the end of 2018, according to the company’s accounts, which noted that it “would not be able to continue” without the support of its creditors and directors.

The Galway-based businessman had provided the loans to the Libertas Institute at an interest rate of 11 per cent.

Strike-off

However, newly filed accounts show that Mr Ganley wrote off his loans to the company during 2019, wiping out accumulated losses of almost €3.5 million and clearing the way for a voluntary strike-off.

The accounts note that the directors of the company intend to commence the strike-off process within 12 months of the financial statements’ approval on May 21st, and that the company is no longer a going concern.

The Libertas Institute was established in 2006 with a mission “to initiate and provoke enlightened discussion on the [EU], its relevance to its member states and peoples and its role in world affairs having regard to our shared values of peace, democracy, individual liberty and free markets...”

It successfully campaigned for a No vote in the 2008 referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Political party

In 2009, Mr Ganley established a pan-European political party, Libertas. The party won just one seat in the European Parliament that year, leading the businessman to describe the movement as “a failed experiment”.

Mr Ganley’s first entrepreneurial endeavours included timber export and the privatisation of sawmills and forestry assets in Latvia and Russia in the late 1990s. These were sold to a group led by the Hungarian billionaire George Soros in 1997.

The Tuam-based businessman later established a European telecoms group called Broadnet before selling his 40 per cent stake in the venture to US giant Comcast in 2000.

He is currently chairman and chief executive of Rivada Networks, a telecommunications firm with offices in the US and Ireland which was founded in 2004.