Businessman Gerry Beades, who claimed he was duped into signing a guarantee for a €255,000 loan, has lost his appeal over a summary judgment order granted against him for the money, plus interest.
The Court of Appeal found Mr Beades could not credibly argue he was duped or had not given the guarantee willingly in full knowledge of the legal implications of doing so.
It found the couple who loaned the money, Bernard and Nancy McDonnell, Leopardstown Avenue, Blackrock, Dublin, were entitled to judgment for €291,000.
The original €255,000 (IR£200,000) loan was provided by the McDonnells between 1998 and 1999, in three amounts, for a property development company, Greencastle Investments.
Its directors were Mr Beades and his business partner Niall Ring, a son-in-law of the McDonnells.
The money was for a mixed commercial/residential development at Greencastle Parade, Coolock, Dublin.
Mr Beades and Mr Ring both entered into guarantees to repay the loans on demand within a year with interest.
When the money was not repaid, the McDonnells obtained summary judgment from the High Court in March 2011 against Mr Beades after the court rejected his claims he had an arguable defence entitling him to a full hearing.
Mr Beades appealed that decision on grounds including there was a genuine dispute surrounding complex transactions. He also claimed neither he nor Greencastle Investments derived any benefit from the loans.
He further argued no evidence had been produced to verify any efforts were made by the McDonnells to recover the money from their son-in-law since the judgment.
Mr Beades also claimed Mr Ring had misappropriated
funds to buy a family home in Clontarf, Dublin. As a result, the company finances were fatally undermined and the money had to be borrowed from the McDonnells, he claimed.
Mr Beades also claimed his right under the European Convention on Human Rights to access to a court and fair trial had been breached by the summary judgment.
Giving the three-judge Court of Appeal's decision dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said Mr Beades had claimed he was duped "into signing the guarantee while present in the solicitor's office on other business".
No such contention was made in Mr Beades original opposition to summary judgment in the High Court, the judge said.
What Mr Beades had claimed was Mr Ring had asked him to sign the guarantee and his father-in-law was going to ask Mr Ring to repay the money, the judge said. Mr Beades had also said Mr Ring assured him the money was in Greencastle’s bank account and would be used to repay at a later date.
Mr Justice Mahon said the agreement to provide a personal guarantee undoubtedly informed Mr Beades’ decision to later sign the document and assume liability for the loans.
While Mr Beades complained about having been duped, and while he may have agreed to sign out of “misplaced loyalty” to Mr Ring, it was nevertheless a fact he signed in the full knowledge of its legal implications, the judge said.
“He was at the time an experienced businessman well used to dealing with substantial financial matters.”
The judge found Mr Beades had not established a credible or arguable defence and the McDonnells were entitled to summary judgment.