Wednesday 20th June, 2018
7 ℃ | 18 ℃Dublin

DUBLIN, Ireland - In an ongoing dispute over investment, former Taoiseach Brian Cowen and a number of other Irish investors are fighting a case against an English law firm.

The law firm reportedly advised them when they bought student flats in Leeds.

Now, over 40 investors have reportedly taken High Court action in England after claiming that they lost money.

The investors have accused Punch Robson Solicitors of negligence.

Meanwhile, Punch Robson, named as the defendant, is believed to be contesting damages claims.

Cowen, who was Taoiseach between 2008 and 2011 was recently revealed to have featured on a list of claimants in legal papers lodged at the High Court in London.

While judges have not begun overseeing High Court hearings and Solicitor Chris Waters has said that his London-based firm Meaby & Co is representing more than 40 claimants. 

Waters has said the dispute centres on a student accommodation development called Carr Mills in Leeds.

He said the development was completed about 12 years ago and went into receivership in 2011.

He further added that between 2015 and 2016, properties had sold for about 72,000 pounds.

Waters said his claimants each paid around 270,000 pounds for apartments bought as investment properties.

He added that claimants had taken out mortgages and the "anticipated value" of total damages claims is 14 million pounds.

Waters said, "The claimants all have vast outstanding liabilities with various Irish banks, but primarily the Allied Irish Bank. The anticipated value of the claim is 14 million pounds. The claimants' claim against the defendant seeks restitution... an account of profits, equitable compensation or alternatively damages in respect of loss and damage sustained by the claimants in consequence of the defendant's breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence.”

He added, “We are aware that U.K.-based investment schemes of this nature were prominent with Irish investors between 2004 and 2008. At the time, these investment schemes were being sold as having low or no risk with participants generally funding purchases with the benefit of 100 percent mortgages. Properties were often overvalued or failed to perform in line with representations made. Some of these developments have gone into receivership leaving participants with significant outstanding liabilities. Hundreds of Irish citizens who bought into 'risk-free' schemes have been left with crippling life-time debt. We're keen to hear from anyone affected."

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