Belfast Telegraph

Belfast businessman Peter Curistan to fight directorship ban

By Margaret Canning

Peter Curistan, the man behind Belfast's Odyssey Arena, has said he will try to overturn orders made against him and his wife disqualifying them from being company directors.

Curistan (62), of Hampton Park in Belfast, has been banned from the boardroom for six years. His wife Marian Ann (60), also of Hampton Park, has been disqualified for two years.

Mr Curistan was a property developer and built the Odyssey Arena in east Belfast, which opened in 2000 and was a landmark millennium project.

But the company behind the business, and other firms run by Mr Curistan, were put into administration by Anglo Irish Bank in 2010.

Now Mr Curistan has been disqualified for his conduct at the helm of those companies - which had combined debts of £12.6m when they went bust - after a probe by what is now the Department for the Economy. Mr Curistan accepted that he had been guilty of misconduct - including withholding PAYE and national insurance contributions relating to City Car Parks, Odyssey Bowl, Sheridan Entertainments, Sheridan Millennium and Strike Four (Belfast). In the cases of Strike Four and Sheridan Millennium, he also admitted to acting in ways to benefit himself rather than his businesses.

In a statement, Mr Curistan said the disqualification related to his long-term legal battle with Anglo Irish Bank, the lender which helped him build the Odyssey. He has accused the bank, now known as IBRC, of fraud.

Mr Curistan said: "The directors' disqualification has resulted from actions taken by the Anglo Irish Bank (now the IBRC in special liquidation) in relation to companies within the Sheridan Group.

"These actions are the subject of legal challenge now pending in the High Court. The claims against the bank include allegations of fraud and shadow directorship which will be heard when the action comes to hearing.

"Should these actions succeed, there will be an opportunity to seek a rescinding of the disqualifications in the light of the outcome of the hearing, and consequential damages."

Belfast Telegraph