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Concrete firm's sale tainted, judge rules

A sealed bid process to sell off the concreting property of two Belfast brothers said to be in £6m of debt to the former Anglo Irish Bank was tainted, a High Court judge has found.

Mr Justice Deeny backed claims made by Donal and Ronan O'Kane over the method used in attempts to recover some of the money owed to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

Details emerged as he granted a temporary injunction restraining the sale of land and premises by the receivers.

There is no suggestion of any fault on the part of IBRC.

The case centres on the Ready Mix Concrete business at Upper Dunmurry Lane in Belfast.

Allegations made by the O'Kanes included a suspicion that the ultimate highest bidder was advised by the selling agents not to go above £550,000 during the open bidding process, because they would get it for that.

According to the judge, corroboration was provided by a "remarkable" solicitors' letter to the agents, expressing concern at the situation.

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There is no suggestion of any bad faith on the part of IBRC.

On that basis, he held an arguable case had been established that the sale process should be set aside.

In a ruling delivered two weeks ago but only now published, Mr Justice Deeny decided to grant a 21-day injunction subject to a £30,000 payment in to court by the plaintiffs.

He confirmed the defendants were then free to resell the property – but not by auction or a sealed process.

He also directed that two people named in the papers should have no involvement in the sale.

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