Celtic caretaker manager Neil Lennon owes the Bank of Ireland €3m (£2.5m) for a loan guarantee he allegedly gave to a building company.
A letter he signed giving the guarantee has been lost — but the bank says it can produce evidence that the former Celtic and Northern Ireland midfielder did sign it, it was claimed in the Commercial Court in Dublin.
Bank of Ireland (BoI) is seeking a summary judgment against Mr Lennon under a guarantee allegedly provided by him for the loan to Rocket Developments Ltd, which he was also a director of.
BoI claims Mr Lennon, who was recently appointed caretaker manager of the Glasgow giants after the sacking of Tony Mowbray, signed the guarantee letter while in Ireland on the weekend beginning February 24 2006.
He had a free weekend because Celtic had been knocked out of the Scottish Cup.
Colm McHugh, a senior business manager at BoI's branch in Dundalk, Co Louth said Mr Lennon had arrived at the airport carrying golf clubs and had signed the guarantee form at its airport branch.
Mr McHugh claims he had |advised Mr Lennon the guarantee meant the bank was entitled to call on him personally to repay the loan if Rocket Developments did not clear the debt.
The manager also claims Mr Lennon told him he anticipated planning permission would be obtained by Rocket for about 60 houses on a site in Co Louth; that 50% of the site would be sold to clear the debt to the bank; and that the rest of the site would either be developed or sold at an expected profit of €3m (£2.5m).
The proceedings against Mr Lennon, with an address at Queen's Gardens, Glasgow, were admitted to Dublin’s Commercial Court yesterday by Mr Justice Peter Kelly on the application of Aidan Redmond for the bank and on consent of counsel for Mr Lennon.
Mr Redmond said it was being contended that Mr Lennon has a credible defence to the claim and had not executed the guarantee.
The judge fixed the summary judgment application for hearing on May 12.