Belfast developer allowed to claim fraud in Anglo case
Belfast High Court gives Odyssey builder leave to sue IBRC for negligence and fraud
Belfast property developer Peter Curistan has been given the green light to claim fraud as part of his High Court action against the former Anglo Irish Bank.
The businessman, who built the Odyssey entertainment complex in the city, is also suing for breach of duty and negligence over the process to find a buyer for his long-term lease on the venue.
His lawyer told a judge on Friday that a writ against the defendant, now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, has been amended to include an allegation of fraud.
It follows earlier hearings before a High Court Master which cleared the way for the claim to be included in proceedings.
Allegations about the operation of shadow directorships are also set to feature in the case.
The amendments have been overseen by senior counsel representing Mr Curistan, the court heard.
The businessman is suing in a personal capacity after previous litigation was brought in the name of Sheridan Millenium, a company he ran before it went into administration in 2011.
Earlier this year the administrator assigned over to him the firm’s right to continue the action.
Mr Curistan developed the Odyssey Pavilion before losing control of it to Anglo.
He has since been involved in a series of legal battles with the bank.
In one case a High Court judge drew attention to a so-called ‘Golden Circle’ arrangement where the bank loaned 10 of its clients €450 million which they then used to buy shares in the bank.
The scheme was said to have been designed to prevent a large number of shares being sold on the open market which would have depressed the bank’s value.
At that stage the judge said the transaction appeared to be “improper and unlawful”.
Papers lodged in the renewed case against Anglo focus on claims around how the bank identified one of its clients as a potential purchaser for the leases around in 2008-09.
It is alleged that the management of the process amounted to a “shadow directorship”.
Other, better placed potential purchasers were ignored, according to claims against the bank.
The case has now been adjourned for a further hearing next year.
Outside court Mr Curistan said: “It has taken me seven months to get the approval to include allegations about fraud and shadow directorships in the statement of claim and writ.
“I’m now delighted we can move forward speedily to the trial in the near future.”