Mick Wallace trying to save family home, High Court told

Independent TD Mick Wallace is exploring possible alternatives to being bankrupted by a fund and also wants to see if he can save his family home, the High Court has been told.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello agreed yesterday to adjourn to December 19 the bankruptcy petition by Promontoria (Aran) Ltd fund to allow Mr Wallace pursue those matters.

The fund has brought the petition arising from a €2m judgment obtained after it took over the TD’s debt to Ulster Bank.

Promontoria is owned by US fund giant Cerberus, the same fund that was at the centre of allegations made in the Dáil by Mr Wallace in relation to the acquisition of Nama’s €5.7bn Northern Ireland portfolio.

The substance of those allegations is now subject to investigations in the UK and US.

The loans taken over by Promontoria are linked to M&J Wallace, one of Mr Wallace’s pre-crash Dublin businesses, but are also understood to be backed by personal guarantees, leaving the TD liable if the business could not pay the debt.

The court was previously told, while Mr Wallace is entitled to anonymity at this stage of the bankruptcy process, he had waived that right.

When the matter first came before the court last month, Mr Wallace sought an adjournment to allow him engage with an insolvency practitioner. The matter was adjourned to allow a number of steps be taken.

Yesterday, Edward Farrelly, counsel for Promontoria, told Ms Justice Costello that Mr Wallace’s counsel was looking for an adjournment of the application to December 19.

His side was anxious to get the matter on but was not objecting to the adjournment, Mr Farrelly said.

When the judge asked Keith Farry, counsel for Mr Wallace, whether his client was pursuing alternatives to bankruptcy, counsel said he was.

Mr Farry said an insolvency practitioner had written on Mr Wallace’s behalf to the fund and to Allied Irish Banks to see if his family home could be retained. A statement of affairs was also being prepared and would be ready for December 19 when it was also expected the AIB response would be before the court.

His side hoped to have made “significant progress” in the matter by December 19, Mr Farry added.

In the circumstances, the judge agreed to adjourn the petition to December 19.

Until 2014, a TD would automatically lose their seat if declared bankrupt, but that is no longer the case.


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