Landlord told to surrender his passport

Landlord John Meagher has agreed to surrender his passport and take steps to address his contempt of orders requiring him disclose his assets to a bank pursuing him for almost €7m.

Mr Meagher, whose arrest was ordered last month by Mr Justice Peter Kelly of the Commercial Court, appeared voluntarily before the judge yesterday. He said he had been in India and Sri Lanka and was unaware of the court proceedings until a friend rang him in India to say he was “all over the papers”.

While he apologised to the court and appreciated it took the matter serio-usly, he regarded it as “a business matter” and did not understand the attitude adopted by Danske Bank, towards him.

The judge told him he was in contempt and should be in custody but gardaí had been unable to execute the warrant. He must address the bank’s concerns, and not leave the country until he did so, he said. It was “very unsatisfactory” Mr Meagher claimed he knew nothing about this case when he was involved in another court case in which solicitors representing him were informed about this case, the judge added.

Danske Bank had on Jun 24 obtained orders directing gardaí to arrest Mr Meagher over his failure to provide by mid-June a sworn statement of his assets as ordered by the judge in preparation for a court examination about his assets. It sought those orders over his failure to pay a €6.98m judgment obtained last February over unpaid loans.

Yesterday, Rossa Fanning, counsel for the bank, said it had received no communication from Mr Meagher and he had still not provided the statement of means necessary for a useful cross-examination.

Mr Meagher said he wanted to defend the judgment against him and argued the bank was being “disingenuous” in relation to its dealings with him as he was a client of it for 17 years and in contact with it until January last.

The bank sent the case documents to a house in Ashbourne where he never lived and, when in Ireland, he stayed in Cobh, Co Cork, and at a property owned by him in Dublin’s Dorset St, he said.

Mr Meagher rejected counsel’s suggestion that his lawyers must have contacted him and he had told them not to accept service of the documents on his behalf.

Mr Fanning said the bank’s aim was to have him comply with the order requiring sworn disclosure. If Mr Meagher would comply, the court could choose to extend time for him to do so, he said.

The case was adjourned to Tuesday.


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