Belfast Telegraph

Odyssey case: Evidence of Dublin bank trio is sought

By Alan Erwin

A banking entity defending property magnate Peter Curistan's multi-million pound legal action in Belfast wants to take evidence from three key witnesses in Dublin, it has emerged.

In a highly unusual move, lawyers for the former Anglo Irish Bank are seeking Belfast's High Court to issue a letter requesting depositions from one-time executives Pat Whelan, Peter Butler and Joe McWilliams.

If successful it would be the first time since the Omagh bomb civil action that litigation in Northern Ireland has involved evidence being taken in another jurisdiction.

Mr Curistan, the developer who built the city's Odyssey entertainment complex, is suing Anglo's successor, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation for alleged fraud.

The businessman is also claiming breach of duty and negligence over the process to find a buyer for his long-term lease in the venue.

Papers in the case state that the three men are considered as essential witnesses in the defence of the case.

The defendant intends to call them, but they have not confirmed their consent to attendance at the main hearing of the action, according to the documents.

Because the three men reside in the Republic, lawyers representing IBRC have now applied to a judge in Belfast for a letter of request to take their evidence by deposition.

At the High Court yesterday Madam Justice McBride adjourned proceedings for a further review in four weeks' time.

Mr Curistan is suing in a personal capacity after previous litigation was brought in the name of Sheridan Millennium, a company he ran before it went into administration in 2011.

Papers lodged in Mr Curistan's current lawsuit focus on claims around how Anglo identified one of its clients as a potential purchaser for the leases in around 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.

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