Golf star Padraig Harrington loses millions in failed firm
Billionaire Irish businessman Dermot Desmond and his golfing buddy Padraig Harrington have lost more than £15m in a technology firm, documents filed last week have revealed.
Mr Desmond, whose wealth is estimated at €1.4bn (£1.1bn), is regarded as one of the shrewdest investors in the business.
The businessman and the golfer, who finished second in the Irish Open in Killarney, yesterday, took the huge hit in a technology firm called Carthow Limited (formerly U4EA Technologies) in which his brother Columb Harrington was a director. It collapsed with debts of nearly £40m.
Gibraltar-based businessman Mr Desmond lost £11,918,811 in the venture through his private investment firm IIU. Harrington, who is having a mixed sporting year, lost £3,361,716.
The technology company is now in administration and, according to figures filed in court last week, there is only £250 left after £5m was paid to ‘secured' creditors such as banks and institutions.
In November last year, when rumours first surfaced about the golfer losing a lot of money, he answered his critics by saying, “birdies are recession-proof”.
He also said that “nasty things” were being said about him, including reports that he had lost money on investments with jailed American banker Bernie Madoff.
But the scale of losses by Ireland's best-loved golfer, who is also an accountant, and Mr Desmond's private equity firm IIU are revealed in the administrators' progress report into Carthow Limited — filed recently in the High Court in Bristol.
‘Secured' creditors, which include banks and other financial institutions, originally submitted claims of £21.3m — but when the administrators sought legal advice they found that the firm had only given security for £5m (€6m). This has since been paid.
According to the documents, the administrators have since received claims of £6.7m from U4EA Limited, £3.3m from Harrington and £11.9m from IIU Nominees, Mr Desmond's investment firm.
But the Statement of Affairs shows that after paying banks and costs there is nothing left for unsecured creditors.
Harrington is estimated to have earned about €1.5m (£1.3m) in prize money this year, the bulk of it in America where he is a member of the professional tour. He also has lucrative sponsorship deals so while these losses would put a dent in his finances he remains one of Ireland’s richest sportsmen.