Slattery launches Friends First action

Businessman Dómhnal Slattery’s action against Friends First Life Assurance Company, which he alleges threatened to pursue him for almost $10m (€7.6m) under an alleged guarantee over funds issued to buy a hotel in Washington DC, has opened before the Commercial Court.

In his action Mr Slattery, of Ailesbury Rd, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, the CEO of Avolon Airspace Ltd, claims Friends First threatened to sue him and also moved to discredit and undermine him with Avolon shareholders and others after he refused to consent to rectification of a Jul 2009 deed which allegedly limited Friends First recourse to him under the guarantee.

He claims the deed provides Friends First with limited recourse to him arising from his alleged guarantee of Mar 2008 related to a promissory note via which Friends First advanced about $9.5m to Claret Capital Holdings LLC, a Delaware company, towards the purchase of the St Regis Hotel in Washington.

He is seeking declarations from the court including that he is not personally indebted to friends First Life in the sum of $9.9m plus interest, and that the defendant company is not entitled to demand payment of $9.9m from Mr Slattery.

He is also seeking a declaration that Friends First’s recourse to Mr Slattery in respect of an liability under a deed of pledge or a joint and several guarantee in Mar 2008 is strictly limited to the value of 256 shares in a company called Jetbird Ltd, an aviation firm launched by Mr Slattery.

Mr Slattery is further seeking damages for alleged breaches of confidence, privacy, and duty.

The claims are denied.

The case relates to a $14.05m loan advanced by Friends First to Claret Capital in Mar 2008 via a promissory note to fund the purchase of the St Regis Hotel in Washington DC.

The action before Mr Justice Brian McGovern continues and is expected to take some days.

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