Wallace declared a bankrupt with debts of up to €30m

Independent TD Mick Wallace has been adjudicated a bankrupt at the High Court on foot of a €2m judgment debt.
Wallace declared a bankrupt with debts of up to €30m

Mr Wallace’s total debts exceed €30m, the court was told.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello granted the bankruptcy petition by the Promontoria (Aran) Ltd fund arising from a €2m judgment obtained after the fund took over a debt owed to Ulster Bank.

That judgment was granted by the Commercial Court last January arising from Mr Wallace’s liability to Ulster Bank under his guarantee of the debt of his company, M & J Wallace Ltd.

Promontoria is owned by Cerberus, the US fund giant at the centre of allegations made in the Dáil by Mr Wallace concerning 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.

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

Mr Wallace was in court for the hearing, which lasted about 10 minutes and which resulted in the fund’s petition being granted.

Earlier, about 20 other people were adjudicated bankrupt by the judge on their own petitions.

When the Promontoria petition first came before the court last month, Mr Wallace sought an adjournment to allow him to engage with an insolvency practitioner and prepare a statement of assets and liabilities.

The court heard that the TD was exploring possible alternatives to bankruptcy and engaging with Allied Irish Banks in a bid to save his family home.

When the matter returned to the bankruptcy list yesterday, the judge heard from Keith Farry, for Mr Wallace, of developments since the last court hearing.

ACC — as the TD’s biggest creditor, having obtained a €20m judgment against him in 2012 — would have to consent to such a waiver in order for agreement to be secured for a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) but it had said it was not prepared to do so, the court heard.

Edward Farrelly, for Promontoria, said he understood Mr Wallace’s total indebtedness was over €30m.

Mr Farry said Mr Wallace had a statement of affairs for the court and had considered seeking a protective certificate, which gives debtors a 70-day breathing space from creditors.

However, as there was no reality to Mr Wallace being in a position to put together a PIA in the circumstances outlined, he was not putting up “any further resistance”, counsel said.

Ms Justice Costello said she was satisfied the fund had met the requirements of the Bankruptcy Act and would grant its petition to adjudicate Mr Wallace a bankrupt.

After the adjudication, Mr Farry said his client would co-operate fully with the bankruptcy process. His assets will now be administered by the trustee in bankruptcy, Chris Lehane.

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