Glen Dimplex chairman Seán O’Driscoll accuses Anglo of misselling German property fund as investment

IBRC action seeking some €1.8 million from O’Driscoll will be heard later

Glen Dimplex chairman and chief executive Sean O'Driscoll has alleged the former Anglo Irish Bank mis-sold a German property fund to him as an investment, resulting in "catastrophic losses" with his €500,000 investment now standing at some €88,000.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly made directions yesterday for a consolidated hearing in the Commercial Court of that claim with three other actions by Mr O’Driscoll over other Anglo funds.

A fifth action, related to an Anglo fund involving New York hotels, is not being pursued by Mr O’Driscoll arising from the Supreme Court’s rejection of businessman Gerard McCaughey’s case over that fund.

A separate action by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo, seeking some €1.8 million from Mr O'Driscoll arising from loans given to him for investments in the various funds, will be heard later.


In his four actions against IBRC and IBRC Assurance Company, Mr O’Driscoll alleges he has suffered losses of some €5 million due to alleged misrepresentation of the various funds.

The action transferred yesterday relates to a German retail property fund – the Anglo Taurus Retail Geared Property Fund. Mr O'Driscoll said he borrowed €500,000 from Anglo in 2007 to invest in that fund created to generate a profit from the "perceived robustness" of the German commercial property market but which "performed disastrously" in the wake of the global recession.

In an affidavit, Mr O’Driscoll said he is an experienced businessman and “sophisticated investor” who accepted not every investment could be successful and who was prepared to accept losses if they are warranted. He considered, having reviewed the Taurus fund with his advisers, that the fund was mis-sold to him as an investment and was also negligently managed by the defendants.

Unknown to him, the properties in which the Taurus Fund invested were bought by Anglo customers in 2005 with borrowings from Anglo, he said.

Other investors
Neither he nor the other investors were told the loan would be called in some five years from the date of investment, he added.

Had he been advised of the policy underpinning the Taurus fund, he certainly would not have invested in it.

He was advised the fund brochure included an overstatement of some 13.23 per cent in actual yields while the net annual rent figures were also significantly overstated.

By December 2012, the value of his €500,000 investment had plummeted by almost 50 per cent and was now some €88,000, less distributions paid to date.

He added he had been trying from about May 2011 to get information from IBRC about his various investments with it and that resulted in a "without prejudice" meeting in November 2012 with former IBRC chief executive Mike Aynsley.

Having failed to secure any satisfactory engagement with the bank concerning the “general “mismanagement” of his investments, he initiated proceedings.

In its action against Mr O’Driscoll, Granville Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin, IBRC is seeking judgment for €1.8 million over his alleged failure to fully repay loan facilities of April 2009 related to the Woolgate Exchange Geared Property Fund, the Newbury Street Fund and the Anglo Taurus Retail Geared Property Fund.  Mr O’Driscoll has lodged €1.8 million into court to meet that claim if necessary.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times