Seen & Heard: New mortgage lender and hope for Orla Keily’s retail business

AirBnb a ‘lightning rod’ for housing crisis and Revenue investigate high-net worth individuals

Finance Ireland, a non-bank lender backed by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (Isif), has decided to enter the mortgage market and will announce its plans in the coming weeks, according to the Sunday Times.

The move follows more than a year of deliberation by the finance house over whether it will challenge the home loans market controlled by the five main retail banks. Founded by former Permanent TSB boss Billy Kane, Finance Ireland already provides motor, SME and agri-leasing loans. It is backed by US investment group Pimco as well as Isif.

"Multiple interested parties" are circling designer Orla Kiely's retail business with a view to buying some or all the interests, according to the Sunday Business Post, citing the administrator appointed by the company's creditors. Sums owed to creditors were "substantial", Chris Newell of corporate recovery specialist Quantuma told the newspaper.

Kiely and her husband and business partner Dermott Rowan are seeking to liquidate the company Kiely Rowan plc, but Newell is investigating whether or not it might be able to continue as a going concern.

Accommodation rental site Airbnb has identified almost 900 Dublin properties on its site that could be available to long-term tenants but are being used for successive short-term lets, according to the Sunday Independent. In an interview with the newspaper, Airbnb's Irish chief executive Aisling Hassell defended the San Francisco company's role in the housing crisis: "I do feel Airbnb has become a little bit of a lightning rod on this issue, far above the net impact." Airbnb is one of a number of short-term letting companies likely to come under new regulations proposed by the Government.

Element Pictures, the Irish film and television production company, has entered a "first look" agreement with Hollywood studio Fox Searchlight, reports the Sunday Independent and the Sunday Times.

Under the deal, Fox Searchlight will be given first right of refusal on the distribution of Element's projects. Fox Searchlight, which is one of the 21st Century Fox businesses on track to be acquired by Disney, co-funded of Element's latest film The Favourite, starring Rachel Weisz. Element, founded by Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe, co-produced recent award-winners Brooklyn and Room.

The Revenue Commissioners is investigating tax avoidance by 25 people who attempted to reduce their tax bill by a total of €110 million, the Sunday Business Post reports. The high-net-worth individuals, who had losses of €550 million on financial instruments known as foreign exchange contracts-for-difference (CFDs) and other schemes, sought to offset their capital gains tax liability by approximately €110 million. The figures emerged in the annual report of the Comptroller & Auditor General.