THE ONLY MALE member of Irish band The Corrs has told the High Court he was under a huge amount of “stress” when he sold a house in Dublin in a bid to “protect his finances for his son”.
Jim Corr appeared before the Commercial Court yesterday where he was accused by ACC Bank of putting assets beyond their reach as he was questioned about an outstanding loan of €778,000 from the bank.
Bernard Dunleavy, barrister for ACC, questioned Corr about the circumstances regarding the sale of a property he owned in Donnybrook, Dublin 4, and accused the songwriter of coming up with a “scheme to divest of the property” and keep it from the bank.
Musician Jim Corr leaving the Commercial Court in Dublin yesterday. (Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)
Corr said that the apartment had been on sale since 2008 but Dunleavy said it was too “coincidental” that it was sold to a Maltese company within a couple of weeks of ACC securing a court judgment of €1.44 million against Corr in February 2011.
Corr denied that it was his aim to keep the property from the bank, at which Mr Justice Peter Kelly intervened and told the songwriter to reconsider his answer.
“Did all of that just happen by a stroke of good luck? Do you really expect me to believe that? Seriously?” he asked.
Judge Kelly also reminded him that he was under oath when giving his reconsidered answer.
After a sip of water and a long pause, Corr told Courtroom One that he was trying “to protect what he could” for his son. “I was doing what anyone else would do in my position,” he added.
Corr was also questioned at length about a property he used to own in Co. Down, which was later bought by a German friend of his shortly after he and Corr first met at a dinner party that The Corr sisters also attended in Palma, Majorca in 2010.
Florian Karrer has “no ties to Ireland” Corr said but he invests in distressed properties and became interested in the apartment after Corr told Karrer he was selling it to relieve some of his debts.
Judge Kelly said he found it unusual that Corr has lived in the property rent-free for three years, but the musician explained that Karrer “likes to have someone living there”.
A connection between the properties was revealed in court when Dunleavy explained the Maltese-based company that bought the Donnybrook apartment in March 2011 was fronted by an Irishman who worked with Karrer.
Corr also told the courtroom that he was musician and “not good at figures” which could be the reason why his finances were so “chaotic”.
He said he never believed that as a minority shareholder with a 25 per cent stake in a loan that he would have to front all of the money. He had entered into the €1.4 million loan advance with two other businessmen, Liam and Philip Marks.
Since mid-2008 Corr told the court he had “people knocking at his door looking for payments” which resulted in him trying to sell “everything” he owned. “ Everything was for sale basically,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Corr’s barrister Ross Aylward made an application for the case to be adjourned to a later date because his client wasn’t fully aware of all the relevant documentation which was needed for the day.
Dunleavy accepted that Corr had short notice of the planned cross examination, and said they would agree to an adjournment if Corr would swear not to declare bankruptcy in any country.
When Corr’s barrister declined, Mr Justice Peter Kelly decided to proceed with the examination by ACC Bank, telling the court that although Corr may not have all the documents needed, some of the information would be factual which he should know.
The cross-examination of Corr will reconvene on Wednesday 3 July at 11am.