Businessman challenges receiver appointment claiming signatures on land deeds charged in favour of Anglo are forgeries

An engineer and businessman has brought a High Court challenge against the appointment by a financial fund of a receiver over lands in Co. Waterford.

Businessman challenges receiver appointment claiming signatures on land deeds charged in favour of Anglo are forgeries

By Ann O'Loughlin

An engineer and businessman has brought a High Court challenge against the appointment by a financial fund of a receiver over lands in Co. Waterford.

The action has been brought by Mr Patrick Wheelock who claims that Mr Stephen Tennant of Grant Thornton has been unlawfully and invalidly appointed as receiver by Promontoria (Arrow) Ltd over his lands at Monvoy, Co Waterford, in early October.

This is because Mr Wheelock claims his signature on deeds of mortgage, which purport to charge his interest in the lands in favour of the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank are forgeries and not his signature.

Mr Wheelock, represented by Jim O'Callaghan SC claims the forged signatures render the deeds of mortgage void, invalid and without legal effect.

Mr O'Callaghan told the High Court today his client never agreed to mortgage or charge the lands in favour of Anglo and was entirely unaware of the purported charges until 2014.

In 2014 Mr Wheelock sued his former accountant and financial advisor who he claimed engaged in an alleged elaborate fraud and allegedly misappropriated €7.9m from him.

It was also claimed the accountant falsifIed Mr Wheelock's signature on several documents, and letters including on deeds of mortgage, dated 2003 and 2008, purportedly creating a security interest in favour of Anglo over the Monvoy lands.

In that action, the accountant claimed Mr Wheelock had authorised him to sign documents on his behalf. Mr O'Callaghan told the court that was "vehemently denied" by his client.

Counsel said the action against the accountant was settled in 2017 without any judicial determination being made about the alleged falsification of documents.

Counsel said the purported mortgages made in favour of Anglo in 2003 and 2008 were acquired by NAMA, who were made aware of the allegations concerning the false signatures in 2014.

Counsel said NAMA sold the mortgages to Promontoria in 2017, who were also informed of the allegations concerning the alleged false signatures on the deeds.

The Nama building in Dublin.
The Nama building in Dublin.

Counsel said Promontoria has brought proceedings seeking judgement against Mr Wheelock which are currently before the Commercial Court.

Promontoria's decision to appoint a receiver was an attempt to leapfrog the commercial court proceedings, counsel said.

Counsel said when the purported mortgages were held by NAMA, it had appointed a statutory receiver over the Monvoy lands. When issues over the alleged forged signatures were made known to NAMA that receiver was stood down, counsel said.

As a result of the receiver's appointment, and refusal to give undertakings not to dispose of the property, Mr Wheelock now seeks orders preventing the receiver from selling or advertising for sale or disposing of lands at Monvoy.

Counsel said Mr Wheelock, a piping design engineer of Moneyhore, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, intends to develop the lands at Monvoy.

The matter came before Mr Justice Tony O'Connor who granted Mr Wheelock's lawyers permission, on an ex parte basis, to serve short notice of proceedings against Mr Tennant and Promontoria.

The case will come back before the court on Friday.

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