U2 drummer and partner claim €11m loss

Larry Mullen (right)

U2 drummer Larry Mullen and his long-term partner Ann Acheson have sued their former accountants, claiming they suffered losses of more than €11m due to alleged, unsuitable investment advice.

The alleged advice related to a €3m investment in a “European hotel fund” and a €4.5m loan for an investment in Romania, it is claimed.

However, the rock star and his partner will have to wait until well in to the new year for the case to be heard in the High Court, when Mr Justice Brian McGovern yesterday refused to fast-track the proceedings in the Commercial Court list.

In addition to at least €7m alleged investment losses, the couple claim they have incurred further significant liabilities related to loans issued in connection with the investments and bank funding costs. The case relates to agreements dating from late 2000, under which Mr Mullen and Ms Acheson allege they retained Gaby Smyth and Co accountants and/or Gaby Smyth as a sole trader in relation to their financial, taxation and investment affairs.

Under those agreements, the defendants were to identity suitable investment opportunities. The couple allege that they were told in November 2007 that a fund called the European Hotel fund was suitable with “very little risk or downside”.

That fund involved a high degree of risk and this was evident from an information memorandum prepared by Goodbody Stockbrokers and PreGroup in October 2007, the couple claim.

The case also relates to a €500,000 investment by the couple in a property in Timisoara, Romania, and the couple allege that they got a €350,000 loan for that investment. They claim they got a further loan from Ulster Bank of €4.5m on joint and several terms with two other parties, one of whom they did not know, in relation to that investment.

A further €1.2m was invested in the Orion property fund, managed by Liberty Asset Management, it is claimed. A €1.2m loan from Ulster Bank financed that, it is alleged.

The couple also claim they got a €2m loan from Ulster Bank around January 2006 for a €3m investment in the Crystal property fund, also managed by Liberty Asset Management.

They are claiming damages, including exemplary damages, for breach ofcontract and/or breach of collateral contract, negligence, breach of duty, negligent misrepresentation and/ or negligent misstatement. The claim is also for restitution or, alternatively, damages for unjust enrichment.

The action has been brought against Gaby Smyth and Co Accountants; Gaby Smyth as a partner in the firm and/or a sole trader carrying on business at Merrion Road, Ballsbridge; and Jill Percival and Pat Cleary, as alleged partners or former partners in Gaby Smyth and Co.

The latter two defendants say they had no involvement in the advice and should not be sued, the court heard.


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