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Anglo won't seek wind-up

Anglo Irish Bank said it is not going to appeal a judgment stopping it from winding up the company of a Belfast businessman.

Last month Mr Justice Deeny granted Peter Curistan's company an injunction preventing the order on the basis that he had "a genuine and substantial dispute" with the bank.

In court yesterday Anglo stated it was not going to appeal the earlier judgment and Mr Curistan will be paid full costs, which could total tens of thousands of pounds.

His firm, Marcus Ward Ltd leases two units in the Odyssey Pavillion in east Belfast and is a related company to his Sheridan Millenium Ltd (SML), which had a long lease on the whole of the Pavillion.

The bank was seeking to wind up Marcus Ward over an alleged £10m debt.

In 2009 SML owed Anglo around £80m and moves were being made to sell the Pavillion, then worth around £43m, to a buyer who would take on the Anglo debt.

Anglo's preferred bidder was the Belfast firm PBN, and by favouring the firm, excluded another bidder, referred to only as 'Confidential Five', who the judge said showed "persistent interest" in the deal and were offering slightly more than PBN.

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Encouraged by the bank, Mr Curistan opted for the PBN bid. However, in November 2009 the bank decided not to go ahead with the PBN deal.

Anglo admitted that it introduced potential buyers from its customer base as in Mr Curistan's case the bank owed his companies a duty of care.

During the case Mr Justice Deeny launched a scathing attack on the "improper and unlawful" 'golden circle' deal.

In the deal the bank loaned 10 of its clients €451m which they then used to buy shares in the bank.

PBN is part owned by Paddy Kearney and Neil Adair.

Mr Adair is the former manager of Anglo's operation in Northern Ireland, while Mr Kearney was said to be a member of the 'golden circle'.

The judge agreed that there was "a clearly arguable case" that the exposure of the 'golden circle' was the real reason for the deal falling through.

Mr Curistan's lawyer argued that Anglo had been in breach of a duty of care by not disclosing that Mr Kearney was "party to this improper arrangement".

He said last night that the case proved that "the banks are not invincible".

Mr Curistant's lawyer then added: "People need to know that they can take on the banks and they shouldn't be afraid to do so."


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