One More Thing: Lots of rich pickings for lawyers in Donegal disputes
Michael Fingleton: being sued by Savanne
There is a bewildering barrage of legal actions these days swirling around Savanne, a Donegal property company co-owned by Michael Desmond, brother of the financier and recent saviour of the FAI, Dermot Desmond.
A winding up petition was filed this week against the company.
Savanne could not say who filed it, nor is it possible to tell from the High Court’s public database.
But there is no shortage of suspects, judging from the lorry load of judgments registered against it in recent years.
Michael Desmond, a former AIB bank manager, is listed as a 20 per cent shareholder with the rest apparently owned by a Derry accountant, Daniel McAteer.
Apparently, Desmond was removed from its board by the other directors, including McAteer, in 2009 after a dispute that followed investment to pay off millions of euro in debt to Irish Nationwide Building Society.
Desmond obtained an injunction that Christmas preventing Savanne from selling any of its assets, and launched a case accusing the other directors of malpractice, which they have denied.
The injunction is due to expire this April, while the directors’ row has been mired in discovery for the last three years.
Separately, Savanne is also suing former INBS boss Michael Fingleton and the society, which has been subsumed into IBRC, over alleged overcharging by the lender. That case also appears to be hotting up, with several affidavits filed before Christmas.
“We invested in the company in good faith and it made a profit after that. Since Mr Desmond obtained his injunction, the company has been loss-making,” said McAteer on behalf of the current directors of Savanne.
Michael Desmond declined to comment, although he confirmed he took out an injunction against the company and that the case is ongoing.