BoI seeks repayment order for €7.9m loan


BANK OF Ireland is seeking summary judgment orders for some €7.9 million against a Co Galway man who has consented to his extradition to the UK in connection with an alleged multi-million euro fraud involving eggs being falsely passed on to British consumers as free-range organic eggs.

The bank’s proceedings against Pearse Piggott (48), a former Galway hurling star and All-Ireland medal winner and his wife Noelle, of Ballyglennon, Gort, Co Galway, were admitted to the Commercial Court this week by Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

The British authorities sought the surrender of Mr Piggott over his alleged involvement in a fraud between 2004 and late 2007 where eggs from caged hens were passed off to UK consumers as being free-range or organic. It is alleged production numbers were altered, suppliers’ names were incorrect and the fraud netted a profit of some £1.59 million.

The High Court was told last July that Mr Piggott, who runs the egg distribution firm Pearse Piggott and Sons, was consenting to his surrender to the UK where he faces charges including conspiracy with others to defraud and of perverting the course of justice. He is due to appear before a court in the UK next month.

Mr Piggott won an All-Ireland senior hurling medal in 1987 when Galway defeated Kilkenny. In its action against the Piggotts, the bank claims it is entitled to summary judgment orders for some €7.9 million arising from loans advanced to the couple on dates between February 2006 and November 2007.

In an affidavit, Joan Naughton of the bank’s regional business unit in Galway, said the purpose of the loans was to restructure existing loans with the bank, purchase a pub and adjoining investment property and to invest in residential and industrial property.

She said the defendants had agreed in January last to repay all sums due by April 30th, 2009, preceded by a lump sum reduction spread between the four loans. That lump sum reduction was not made and the facilities were not cleared by April 2009 but the bank agreed to continue the lending facilities provided agreed other lump sum payments for part payment of interest were made. Some €25,000 was paid by June 2009.

The bank then learned on June 11th, 2009 that the UK Revenue was seeking to extradite Mr Piggott over his alleged involvement in fraud. A senior manager discussed the matter with Mr Piggott.

The bank later told the defendants they had 21 days to arrange payment of the loans. When proposals were not made for repayment, the bank on August 26th issued letters demanding immediate repayment.

Mr Piggott in October last put proposals to the bank and the defendants also made payments of some €12,000, Ms Naughton said. On October 21st last, the bank advised the defendants’ solicitors it had decided to issue summary judgment proceedings.