Publican: Ex-bank official left me broke

A former publican claimed in the High Court a former AIB investment manager stole from her and defrauded her of her investment in the pub.

Ann Condon, aged 52, of Bridgemount, Carrigaline, Co Cork, claims former Mallow AIB official, Kieran Ashcroft, engaged in an orchestrated scheme of fraud which ultimately led her to lose everything she had put into the Anchor Bar on Cork’s George’s Quay.

Ashcroft’s whereabouts are unknown and he was not represented in court. She was left “without a penny to her name”, the court heard.

Ashcroft, from Courtmacsherry, was dismissed by AIB in 2002 and is believed to be living abroad under an assumed identity.

An international police hunt was launched in 2009 to find him in relation to the alleged disappearance of an estimated €2m in other clients’ funds.

Ms Condon has also sued AIB for breach of duty, including negligent misrepresentation in holding out Ashcroft as a trustworthy employee.

AIB denies her claims including that it is vicariously liable for Ashcroft’s acts.

She has also sued Bank of Ireland and its Mallow branch manager, Michael Carroll, who she says introduced Ashcroft to her and recommended him as an investor in her business. 

She claims Bank of Ireland and Mr Carroll were in breach of their duty and were guilty of negligent misstatement and misrepresentation.

Bank of Ireland and Mr Carroll deny the claims.

She says AIB was aware of Ashcroft’s activities which were under investigation by the Garda Fraud Squad in 2002. AIB itself sought a court order around the same time prohibiting Ashcroft from reducing his assets below €1.25m, she says.

It is claimed Ashcroft defrauded her from the moment they got involved in a partnership to buy the Anchor in 1999 by his control of all financial aspects of the business. 

He represented to her that IR£210,000 was the purchase price and she had put the bulk of her half of that sum into the business when the actual purchase price was £150,000.

Elizabeth O’Connell, counsel for Ms Condon, said her client agreed to run the bar on a small wage as she still owed £15,000 towards the purchase price.

She ran the pub profitably and delivered the takings to Ashcroft.

Ashcroft also persuaded her to take out a further £150,000 mortgage with Bank of Ireland to convert the upstairs of the Anchor into two apartments.

The money was transferred into a private Bank of Ireland account of Ashcroft. Ms Condon believes only £60,000 was actually spent on the apartment building work.

Ms O’Connell said Ms Condon was working 12 hours a day, six days a week in the pub, getting little information from Ashcroft.

In October 2002, the Anchor was repossessed by the landlord and Ms Condon had lost all the money she invested in it.

The case continues.



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