The Irish Times

Nama attempt to recover debt of dead man opposed

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The family of a businessma­n who left a suicide note telling of his desperatio­n at being pursued over a ¤31 million bank debt are opposing legal action by a Nama company aimed at recovering the money.

Representa­tives of the estate of Philip De Vere Hunt may pursue the claim that he was not personally liable for the debt, the High Court ruled.

Mr De Vere Hunt (64), Ardmayle House, Cashel, Co Tipperary, was found dead at his cattle mart in Cashel on December 18th, 2012, the same day a case relating to the debt was due to be heard.

At his inquest, coroner Paul Morris said Mr De Vere Hunt’s dealings with Nama, which had taken over a ¤31 million debt to AIB, had “brought him to the end of his tether”.

Mr De Vere Hunt left a “very, very sad note” which described his “sense of desperatio­n” on the matter and his fear the family farm could be taken away, Mr Morris said.

After his death, proceeding­s seeking judgment for the ¤31 million were adjourned pending progress on the administra­tion of his estate.

Debt-free property

Nama company National Asset Loan Management Ltd (Nalm) later alleged, prior to his death, that Mr De Vere Hunt had transferre­d debt-free property to his son, Robert.

The company then applied to have that transfer declared void and sought to reconstitu­te the proceeding­s against the estate. Solicitors for the family took over administra­tion of the estate and sought to file a new defence and counter-claim to Nalm’s judgment proceeding­s.

The estate sought an order from Mr Justice Brian Cregan that the 2009 Nama Act did not require leave of the court to deliver that defence and counter-claim. If such permission was required, an order to that effect should be granted by the court, it was submitted.

Mr Justice Cregan granted leave to the estate to make, in its counter-claim, a plea of mutual mistake between the parties on whether Mr De Vere

‘‘ Mr De Vere Hunt’s dealings with Nama ‘brought him to the end of his tether’

Hunt enjoyed limited liability for repaying the loan when the agreement was entered into.

The judge refused to grant leave to allow them plead breach of contract against Nalm. Such a claim should be made directly against AIB if the defendant so wished, he said. He also refused leave to pursue a misreprese­ntation claim against Nama and said any such claim should also be made against AIB, if so wished.

Mr Justice Cregan said Mr De Vere Hunt and Pat Moloughney, Newpark, Dualla, Cashel, Tipperary, were party to a loan agreement with AIB in June 2010 in which they were advanced about ¤30 million. The two men’s company, BPD Capital, was behind a 77,000sq ft shopping centre at Old Cork Road, Cashel.

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