AIB queries €24,000 monthly spending by indebted Morans
Court hears of new information in case against ex-owners of Morans on the Weir
Morans on the Weir, Co Galway, was sold by William and Sheila Moran in 2011 to Weir Trading, a company ultimately owned by the Moran family. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Examination by AIB as to how William and Sheila Moran, the former owners of Morans on the Weir, in Kilcolgan, Co Galway, spent €24,000 a month on living expenses over 38 months to the end of 2014, is continuing.
Mr Justice Brian McGovern was yesterday told the bank is reviewing some new information it has received over the past two weeks, and is waiting for more that is pending. The case was adjourned to April 4th.
Two weeks ago the court was told the bank was receiving unsatisfactory disclosure about transactions involving the couple at a time when it believed €2.26 million from the sale of property, including five apartments in Sydney, had accrued to the couple but had not been used to pay down the debt due to AIB.
Most of this property was in counties Galway, Longford and Leitrim but it included apartments in Dublin and retail units in Co Westmeath. Receiver Jim Luby was appointed over 24 of the properties in 2012.
Some years ago the couple sold five apartments in Sydney for €943,976, and they sold their famous Co Galway pub in August 2011 to a company of which they were shareholders and directors, called Weir Trading.
The pub sale was for €1.5 million, half of which came from Bank of Ireland which lent the money to the company. The other half of the sale price, the couple told the bank, came from a €750,000 directors’ loan they gave the company, which was repaid within a year.
Weir Trading was initially owned by William and Sheila Moran but shares were issued to the Moran children Catherine, Donal and Michael in 2011, diluting the parents’ shareholding. After the purchase of the pub, the company became, temporarily, a single member company, before becoming owned by three Irish companies and a company in New Zealand.
Weir Trading is ultimately owned by the Moran family.
The bank is also examining an investment in an office block in Poland by way of a Polish company, Grudnia, in partnership with Galway businessman Donall Dooley. The building had a value of €7.9 million in 2010. William Moran’s sale of his shares in the Polish company to his son Donal is being examined.
Mr Moran gave a €5 million loan to the company in November 2007 to facilitate the acquisition of the Polish property, the court has been told by AIB. In September 2011, when the balance on the loan was €3.8 million, Mr Moran sold his rights to the loan to his son Donal for €550,000.
The court has also been told by AIB that, in January 2012, at a time when Mr Moran owed money to AIB, he advanced a loan of €250,000 to a Latvian company, DTD SIA, on very unfavourable terms. The same month he advanced €400,000 to another Latvian company, Invest Agra SIA, again on very unfavourable terms, according to the AIB. Half of this latter amount was later returned.
Morans on the Weir has been in the ownership of the family for three centuries.
A separate case involving the National Asset Management Agency, Mr Dooley, and the Morans, is to be heard on April 7th.