High Court issues €1.59m judgment against daughter-in-law of developer Paddy Kelly

The High Court has given summary judgment for €1.59m against a daughter-in-law of well-known developer Paddy Kelly over loans primarily related to the purchase of units in a commercial building in Sandyford, Dublin.

AIB sought a judgment against Joanna Sloan, wife of Simon Kelly, son of Laois-born Paddy Kelly who was at one time one of the country's most successful developers.

It related to loans advanced in 2007 for the purchase of units in Sandyford Apex Centre and for the release of equity in two of the units there.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan ruled Ms Sloan had not demonstrated a fair or reasonable probability that she had a bona fide defence to the bank's claim.

The judge said in 2006, Paddy Kelly and others were loaned €8m by AIB to buy ten units in the Apex Centre which was owned by a company called Daleridge Ltd, of which Mr Kelly and Simon Kelly were shareholders along with others.

Daleridge was liquidated and the shareholders subsequently acquired some of the individual units in the Apex.

After the liquidation of Daleridge, Ms Sloan bought two of the units with loans from AIBin 2007 including a sum for releasing equity.

Security for the loans was a legal charge by Ms Sloan over the two units while her husband Simon provided a letter of guarantee for her obligations for €3.42m.

The total amount of the loans sanctioned was €3.42m. A receiver appointed over the units sold them off and the proceeds went to reduce her outstanding debt to €1.59m.

There was default on the loans and the bank demanded repayment which was not made and judgment was sought.

Mr Justice Noonan said there was no dispute the money was drawn down by Ms Sloan, that there was a default and repayment demands were not met.

Among her claims were the loan agreement was not signed by her. The judge said the fact that the agreement was not executed did not mean there was no agreement.

The monies were drawn down and this amounted to implicit acceptance of the terms of the loan, he said.

She also claimed it was not her signature and that the loan was "for the full benefit of my husband rather than me".

The judge said this was later contradicted by her when she claimed she had not received independent legal advice "at the point at which I executed the liabilities in question".

She stopped short of alleging the signature was a forgery but, the judge said, no other inference could be drawn.

Her assertion she knew nothing about the loan in question "is simply not credible in the light of the documentary evidence which in my view is all to the contrary", he said.

A bare assertion that a signature was not hers did not amount to an arguable defence, he said.

He also rejected her claim about not receiving independent legal advice and that AIB brought its case outside the six-year legal time limit. A 12-year time limit applied in this case and it was therefore not statute barred, he said.

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