Court highlights large number of AIB debt cases

The master of the High Court has queried whether AIB’s largest shareholder — the minister for finance — is aware of the extent of its litigation in repossession and debt cases.

Master Edmund Honohan, who deals with administrative matters for cases on their way to the High Court, said that about half of the 98 cases on Tuesday were taken by AIB and he asked aloud whether the bank’s “largest shareholder” was aware of this.

Of the bank’s cases, most related to debts exceeding €75,000, while 11 concerned possession proceedings. The same list included four debt-collection cases brought by Bank of Ireland and two by Ulster Bank.

Also, the master, in reference to Section 110 of the Finance Act (a recently closed loophole availed of by ‘vulture funds’ for tax-avoidance), queried if Emberton Finance Ltd (a fund that took over a man’s loan from Friends First Finance Ltd) was a “charity” claiming exemption from paying stamp duty on the loan assignment.

Emberton has taken possession proceedings against a man over a 2008 mortgage.

The master asked for evidence that the 2014 assignment of the Friends First loan to Emberton had been properly stamped. He adjourned the matter.

In another case, a couple with an address at Ballingarry, Thurles, Co Tipperary, are challenging a repossession order granted to Springboard Mortgages Ltd, in 2014, by the Circuit Court.

Also adjourning that, the master said the Circuit Court only has jurisdiction in “principal private residence” repossession cases.


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