Former ‘Dragons’ Den’ investor Sarah Newman bankrupt

Businesswoman says she made “extremely difficult decision” to file for bankruptcy after selling all her assets

Businesswoman and former Dragons' Den panellist, Sarah Newman, sold all her assets in a bid to pay off creditors ahead of being declared bankrupt.

It emerged on Thursday that a UK court recently declared the businesswoman and former TV personality bankrupt.

She was due to be cross-examined before Mr Justice Brian McGovern in the Irish Commercial Court as AIB Mortgage Bank sought to execute a five-year-old €9 million judgment against her and her former partner, Kilkenny hurling legend DJ Carey.

A statement confirmed that she made the “extremely difficult decision” to file for bankruptcy and that she has co-operated with all financial institutions to which she owed money.


“Sarah has disposed of all her assets to reimburse the banks however there is still a significant shortfall,” the statement said.

“Despite every effort to avoid this outcome Sarah has taken this step.”

It added the move would allow her to rebuild her career and a future for her two children. She moved to England following the economic crash.

UK Insolvency Service documents state she now lives in Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk, in southern England.

Her previous address was Monkstown, Co Dublin. They also say that she is unemployed.

The filings show that last week an English court declared Sarah Jane Newman bankrupt.

She will be discharged on February 26th 2017, which means that she is likely to be clear of all liabilities from that date.

Ms Newman was originally from the UK and established an on-line travel business here that she subsequently sold.

Following that she was involved in a number of ventures and appeared on RTÉ’s Dragons’ Den, a show where prospective entreprenuers sought investment by pitching their ideas at a panel of business people.

In light of the bankruptcy of Ms Newman, James Doherty BL, for the bank, said it was not proceeding with the cross-examination.

Hugh O’Flaherty BL, for Ms Newman said the matter was being dealt with on consent.

Counsel also indicated any further court applications would be brought via the UK official receiver’s office.

In the circumstances, the judge struck out, on consent of both sides, the motion for cross-examination.


The bank had brought that motion after alleging Ms Newman, a mother of two with an address in London, was not sufficiently engaging with it in relation to meeting her liabilities to it.

Follwing the sale of properties and some repayments, the bank claims some €6.4 million remains outstanding.

In its motion, it sought to question Ms Newman about any other debts of hers and whether she has any other property or means of satisfying the judgment obtained.

It also sought orders requiring her to file a statement of affairs, plus any relevant documents, specifying any such debts and any income which could go towards satisfying the judgment.

The application arose after Ms Newman and Mr Carey consented at the Commercial Court in May 2011 to entry of judgment for more than €9 million each against them in favour of the bank arising from loans and guarantees of each other's liabilities.

Judgment for some €9.5 million was entered against Mr Carey arising from an April 2007 €7.85 million mortgage loan advanced in the context of a wider commercial transaction involving him and associated businesses to refinance existing debt due to Irish Nationwide Building Society and to release equity on properties held by him and Ms Newman.

The €7.85 million loan was secured on two properties in Co Kildare and Co Kilkenny. The judgment also arose from Mr Carey's May 2007 guarantee, limited to €1.5 million, of the liabilities of Ms Newman.

The bank said some €8 million was due from Mr Carey under the mortgage loan account and some €1.5 million under the guarantee.

Judgment for about €9.4 million was granted against Ms Newman arising from her guarantee, limited to €7.85 million, of the liabilities of Mr Carey and under a €1.5 million mortgage loan secured on a property in Co Kildare.

The court agreed to place a four week stay on the judgment order in relation to Mr Carey but refused any stay in the case of Ms Newman after noting the bank's concerns about its ability to execute judgment over a property in another jursdidction, Switzerland.

Ms Newman had been given the opportunity by the bank to make proposals but had given no information, he said.

The bank wrote to Ms Newman on February 10th 2011 warning, unless €7,349 arrears on the mortgage account were paid within 21 days, it would be entitled to terminate the facility.

On March 7th 2011, the bank wrote to Ms Newman stating Mr Carey was in breach of his loan obligations and demanding immediate payment of €7,875,000, plus daily interest, under the guarantee provided by her.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times