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Irish Couple Goes On Property Buying Spree Owe Banks 800 Million Euros

by Jim ONeil on January 24, 2011

in Personal Finance News

With their excellent credit in hand, lawyer Brian O’Donnell and his wife Mary Pat, purchased properties in the UK during the property boom in Ireland. In the process, they bought several trophy buildings in London. It has now come to light that the couple owes over €800 million, or £670 million, to banks throughout the globe.

This information was revealed through a court case submitted by the Bank of Ireland regarding €70 million worth of debts it is attempting to recover. The couple has contested the case and claims that the bank is not legally entitled to make them sell the Sanctuary Buildings, one of their London assets. The Department for Education and Skills currently uses this building.

In 2006, when banks in Ireland were issuing huge loans, the O’Donnells were loaned €26.7 million of the £170 million purchase price for the property by the Bank of Ireland. The couple went on to purchase

Fatburen, the largest office block in Stockholm, for a price of €285 million. They continued to have access to funds in April 2008, when they purchased a Washington, DC, Pennsylvania Avenue office building for the record price of £87 million. This building is located just blocks from the White House.

Other acquisitions followed, including two buildings in the Canary Wharf area of London. The O’Donnells were living the high life, with Bono from U2 as one of their neighbors. Their portfolio of international properties totaled €1.1 billion, with rent in the amount of €150 million. This private couple is mortified that their financial dealings have been made public.

Ironically, Mr. O’Donnell is one of 64 legal advisors to receive approval from the National Asset Management Agency in Ireland. This new state bank is clearing the huge amount of bad debt that property developers amassed during strong economic times. In 2009, the couple was listed as the 178th richest within Ireland.


Retail sales in the 17 countries that use the euro rose more than expected throughout this year!!

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