Irish Daily Mail
Broke businessman gets caught out over Thai pad
Judge extends Joyce’s bankruptcy after ‘errors’ over resort house
A WELL KNOWN Irish businessman has had his bankruptcy extended by the High Court for more than three years after a judge found he had not been truthful about his ownership of a €700,000 resort property in Thailand.
Under bankruptcy rules, a bankrupt must disclose all their assets, so that any available money can be distributed to their creditors.
In the case of Kenneth Joyce, a regular spokesman for the Alienated Children First action group, the official in charge of his bankruptcy said his statement of affairs had been ‘false and misleading’.
The official said Mr Joyce was the sole director of the company that owned the Thai property, which was being rented for up to $1,600 (€1,492) a night, but that he had variously claimed that it was derelict and that he had sold it.
A one-time resident of Hong Kong, Mr Joyce was founding chairman of the Ireland Fund of China, attending functions with the likes of former US president Bill Clinton.
Judge Mark Sanfey noted that Mr Joyce had been adjudicated bankrupt in November 2021, and that in March 2022 he had listed his assets as being worth less than €6,000. He later claimed that household assets which were seized from his home in Foxrock, Co. Dublin, were worth €141,890, and should be ‘offset’ against his debts. ‘No corroboration has been furnished by the bankrupt for these values, and indeed a perusal of the list reveals that the values are plucked from the air, and in many cases fanciful in the extreme: a “CD library” is valued at €30,000; a “DVD collection” is also valued at €30,000,’ the judge said.
The judge added that the county sheriff said he had not seized anything from the property, while the landlord said Mr Joyce had been given an opportunity to retrieve anything he wanted.
Mr Joyce also listed a 100% shareholding in Gravity Electricity Ltd, from which he has allegedly failed to resign as director, as he should have as a bankrupt.
However, the judge said the most substantial issue related to a property in the beach resort of Hua Thanon, Koh Samui, Thailand. ‘In the statement of affairs, the bankrupt lists a one-eighth share in a timeshare rental property in Thailand as having a current estimated value of €60,000 and a mortgage amount owing of €80,000, with a consequent negative estimated value of €20,000,’ the judge said. ‘He confirms in the statement of affairs that the Thai property is derelict, unoccupied and is not being rented.’
In a subsequent email in April 2022, Mr Joyce said the Thai property had been transferred to his wife in around 2012. He also said he had sold it for €10,000.
The judge said the bankruptcy official, or official assignee (OA), had shown the court an August 2013 email from Mr Joyce, in which he said the property was worth at least €700,000. ‘Internet searches made in November 2022 and exhibited by the OA show the Thai property to be listed for rental at $775-$1,605 per night’s stay,’ the judge continued.
In a letter sent last month to the OA, Mr Joyce continued to insist that the property was derelict.
However, he has now conceded to the OA that there was never any mortgage on the property and that he is the sole director of the company that owns it. Judge Sanfey said Mr Joyce had conceded that there were ‘errors and inconsistencies’ in the information he gave to the OA. ‘He emphasised that he did not have the benefit of legal advice in this regard, and candidly and rather disarmingly acknowledged that he had “royally messed up” in relation to some issues. He insisted, however, that he had done his best to cooperate,’ the judge said.
The judge added that Mr Joyce’s level of cooperation with the OA was ‘unacceptable’, remarking: ‘It is difficult to avoid the conclusion, on reviewing the correspondence with the bankrupt, that the bankrupt has avoided any kind of comprehensive and truthful review of the facts in relation to the Thai property, and has simply answered queries on an ad hoc basis, not with a view to imparting useful information, but in order to obfuscate the situation and make things less clear.’
Bankruptcy normally only lasts for one year under Irish law.
The judge ruled that he would extend Mr Joyce’s bankruptcy until May 2026.
‘Royally messed up’