US company Cabot goes after Ulster Bank borrowers

High-profile property investors pursued by firm, which bought bank loans portfolio in 2015

A US-owned debt recovery company has bought a significant portfolio of distressed personal debts from Ulster Bank and is pursuing many high-profile property investors and business owners through the courts.

Cabot, owned by the Nasdaq-listed distressed debt specialist Encore group, bought the loans at the end of 2015 but in recent weeks it has launched a flurry of High Court cases against established business figures.

Among those facing action from Cabot are the adult children of former Nama client and Red Quartz developer Paddy Kelly, although he is not being pursued.

Former Anglo Irish Bank senior executive Paul Pardy, previously a business partner of the Kellys, is also named in court papers as a defendant in a case from Cabot, along with well-known accountant Declan Cassidy.


Also listed among the 50 or so defendants is John Courtenay, the retired former Carlisle football club owner and one-time Umbro franchise executive. He was previously the subject of debt action from Ulster Bank.

Other business people being pursued by Cabot include a Munster builder who previously had a judgment of over €5 million registered against him by Ulster Bank, and other medium-sized builders from around the country.


Several small busines owners, leisure industry executives and auctioneers are also named as defendants by Cabot.

None of the named defendants have yet filed a defence and they may elect to dispute the debts alleged by Cabot.

Cabot would not comment when contacted on Friday. The finance company is pursuing the cases using Cabot Asset Purchases (Ireland), the division of the Cabot Financial group that houses distressed loans it buys for itself, as opposed to loans it services or pursues on behalf of other companies.

It is understood that the loans are almost all related to property investment or land speculation. In many cases, Ulster Bank has already taken enforcement action against the borrowers, and may have repossessed or demanded the sale of properties secured on the loans.

It is thought that the portfolio sold to Cabot includes residual amounts that were allegedly owed by the borrowers to Ulster after the loan security had been enforced, or in effect the shortfall after assets were sold.

The sums are thought to still be significant. In almost all cases, the sum allegedly owed is above €100,000 per borrower and in the millions for a few.

Cabot has employed specialist debt recovery law firm Belgard Solicitors to pursue the cases. In each case, Cabot is seeking summary judgment against the borrowers. This means it could potentially get recourse to any of their remaining assets to satisfy thedebts allegedly owed.

Several funds have been actively pursuing legacy debts of one-time high net worth individuals in recent years.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times