Belfast Telegraph

Ex-tycoon Michael Taggart 'inquired into buying own homes'

By Ashleigh McDonald

Former property magnate Michael Taggart's alleged inquiries about privately buying houses built by his firms were "making a mockery" of attempts to introduce proper corporate governance, the High Court has heard.

A fellow director at the construction group claimed in an internal email that his checks about making purchases with a lesser deposit came at a time when the business was in a "very precarious position".

Counsel for the Ulster Bank contended that the correspondence called into question Mr Taggart's competence as a company boss.

The disclosure came as the one-time tycoon and his brother John Taggart's claim for tens of millions of pounds in damages entered a fourth week. They are suing the bank for alleged negligence and improper conduct, which they say contributed to the fall of their house-building empire.

Once a vast operation stretching across the Irish border, into Britain and even the United States, the Taggart Group was decimated by the 2007 property crash.

Just a year later it went into administration.

The brothers claim they were kept in the dark about credit concerns within the bank.

Had they been warned, they contend, assets could have been sold to off-set loans.

In a counter-claim, Ulster Bank is seeking £5m and €4.3m it says the Taggarts owe in personal guarantees over land purchases. The case continues.

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