Government accused of 'unprecedented abuse of power'

A shareholder in Irish Life and Permanent who is challenging the Government's recapitalisation of the bank has told the High Court the legal challenge is one of the most important cases in the history of the State.

A shareholder in Irish Life and Permanent who is challenging the Government's recapitalisation of the bank has told the High Court the legal challenge is one of the most important cases in the history of the State.

Piotr Skoczylas and his company of which he is managing director, Scotchstone Capital, are among a number of shareholders who are challenging the recapitalisation through the courts.

In July, despite the opposition of IL&P's shareholders, the High Court made an order forcing Irish Life and Permanent to accept a cash injection of €2.7bn from the State.

Today when the matter was briefly mentioned before the High Court Mr Skoczylas said the challenge was one of the most important cases in the history of the State as it would expose an "unprecedented abuse of power" by the Irish authorities.

He claimed the Minister for Finance was trying "to harass and coerce" the shareholders into dropping their case as the Minister understood his case "would not withstand the scrutiny of these proceedings".

He also told the court he would he wanted to have the action determined by the Commercial Court, the big business division of the High Court.

Two other shareholders Gerard Dowling and Padraig McManus told the court they are supporting Mr Skoczylas. Another investment fund - Horizon Growth NV - is also challenging the recapitalisation.

Earlier David Barniville SC for the Minister said they may bring a motion seeking to have the challenge by some of the shareholders dismissed due to a number of issues including the length of time it had taken them to bring the case.

Mr Justice Henry Abbott adjourned the cases to early October when the new legal term commences.

The Judge said that all relevant motions and applications in relation to the case can be made on that date.

The challenges are listed before the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns who is expected to case manage the shareholders actions.

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