NAMA, according to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is neutral on where one of its borrowers declares themselves bankrupt and so far over 20 of its developers – including Bernard McNamara, Paddy Shovlin and Ray Grehan – have been declared bankrupt in the UK. On the other hand, IBRC or Anglo as it once was, challenged Sean Quinn’s bankruptcy in Belfast and Minister Noonan says that IBRC’s view on jurisdiction where a borrowers seeks bankruptcy is influenced by commercial considerations. AT present, Bank of Ireland is trying to challenge the London bankruptcy bid by the O’Donnells, Brian and his wife, Patricia. Earlier this year, AIB did try to bankrupt Ivan Yates in Dublin, but were unsuccessful on a technicality but there doesn’t appear to have been any challenge to Ivan’s subsequent bankruptcy order obtained in Wales. A private individual, Theresa McGuinness was able to successfully challenge Tom McFeely’s bankruptcy in the UK and given that NAMA is a creditor of Tom’s and didn’t join in the action, you can deduce that what Minister Noonan says – that NAMA is neutral – appears to be accurate.
But today we hear of what is believed to be a first: the Revenue Commissioners – Irish tax authorities, once feared but after the Mick Wallace affair, a bit of a joke – are seeking to reverse a Belfast bankruptcy bid by Longford car dealer, John Kane who is understood to owe €5m to the Revenue. Last week at Belfast’s High Court in a hearing in which the press was excluded due to objections by John Kane, the judge is understood to have rescinded a formally-approved bankruptcy order and set the matter down for hearing on 28th January 2013 when it will be decided if John can indeed seek bankruptcy in Northern Ireland – the Revenue’s case is understood to centre on where John lives and works.
It seems that Official Ireland is having difficulty resolving the issue of Irish nationals seeking bankruptcy in the UK where there is a 12-month discharge period compared with a 5-12 year period in Ireland and a 3-6 year period contemplated in the new Personal Insolvency Bill which is wending its way through the Oireachtas and may be operational by the second half of next year.
UPDATE: 3rd December 2012, The BBC is now reporting the matter and says that John was declared bankrupt in June 2012.