Judge hears IL&P action

A High Court judge has begun a hearing to decide key preliminary issues in actions by a number of shareholders in Irish Life and Permanent and others to the Government’s recapitalisation of the bank.

Piotr Skoczylas and his company, Scotchstone Capital, are among a number of litigants challenging the recapitalisation on grounds including it unlawfully imposes an unacceptable €2.7bn burden on Irish and EU taxpayers.

Two IL&P shareholders, Gerard Dowling and Padraig McManus, previously told the court they are supporting Mr Skoczylas while in separate proceedings, an investment fund — Horizon Growth NV — is also challenging the recapitalisation.

In a court packed with shareholders yesterday, Mr Justice Kevin Feeney began a hearing of several preliminary issues in the proceedings. The full hearing is expected to last several days.

The first issue being addressed is a motion by the Minister for Finance in which he argues Mr Skoczylas, in circumstances where he is not a lawyer but a lay litigant representing himself, is not entitled to represent Scotchstone in the action.

Mr Justice Feeney said that issue went to the essence of matters and should be determined first because, if Mr Skocyzlas was not entitled to represent the company, it should be aware of that.

The second issue to be addressed is an application by the lay shareholders and Scotchstone to dismiss the minister’s motion to strike out the applications by Mr Skoczylas and Scotchstone on grounds that they were brought outside the time periods allowed under the relevant law.

The minister is also seeking to strike out Mr Skoczylas’ claims on grounds he was not a member of IL&P when the recapitalisation order was made and therefore does not have the required legal standing to bring his proceedings.

Mr Skoczylas disputes those claims and, in another preliminary application, has asked the court to strike out the minister’s motion.

In another application, Mr Skoczylas wants an order to redact certain material from one of his affidavits concerning when he acquired shares in IL&P, the price paid for those shares and the manner in which he acquired them.

The hearing continues.

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