Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
Hard Times

O'Reilly fails to slow AIB's asset pursuit over €22 million debt

The one-time Heinz chairman has failed to slow down the banks pursuit of his assets.

IRELAND’S MOST FAMOUS businessman, Tony O’Reilly, could be forced to sell off his assets after the commercial court refused him extra time to repay debts owed to AIB.

RTE reports that Mr Justice Peter Kelly shot down O’Reilly’s attempts to slow down AIB’s pursuit of him over unpaid debts of €22 million.

The former Heinz chairman had reportedly been seeking a stay so he could sell off assets in an orderly manner.

O’Reilly is being pursued for a personal debt of around €22 million after securing loans for personal investments on property, including on his holiday home in Glandore, Country Cork.

The one-time rugby international and former owner of Independent News and Media is reported to have used the borrowed cash pile to support the Waterford Wedgwood glass and ceramics manufacturer, which went under despite his attempts to save it.

The bank is also suing O’Reilly’s Cyprus based investment company Indexia for €18.5 million and the Brookside company for €4.1 million.

The case was admitted to the commercial court in May.

O’Reilly’s career in business began in the early 1960s when he joined the Irish Dairy Board, developing the Kerrygold brand. He moved onto Heinz, becoming the first non-family chairman of the company.

He also formerly controlled the newspaper company Independent News and Media, publisher of daily paper The Irish Independent, among other titles, but latterly lost stewardship of the company to rival mogul Denis O’Brien.

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