High Court orders winding-up of Ely Property Group Ltd
on 26/02/2013 17:31:25
In her judgment today Ms Justice Mary Laffoy held that Ely Property Group, a Dublin registered holding company for firms involved in property development and management, was insolvent because it failed to satisfy a debt of €53,000 claimed by EPG's former auditors Copsey Murray Chartered Accountants.
The judge appointed Mr Aidan Garcia Daiz as official liquidator to the firm.
London-based Mr Marley, who is EPG managing director, disputed the debt and claimed the petition was "an abuse of process" and "motivated by malice."
Following the ruling Mr Robert Dore solicitor for Marley said his client would consider the court's decision before deciding whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Copsey Murray, said it began providing services for EPG in 2009. While it invoiced for more than €80,000 for services provided over three years, it was only paid €32,000 and €53,000 remained outstanding. It claimed that Ely Property Group which had no defence to the petition.
EPG argued the monies claimed were not owed and the matter should be resolved at a full hearing. In his affidavit, Mr Marley said Copsey Murray were engaged to provide services to EPG and subsidiary companies.
He said the firm had invoiced EPG in 2011 for services provided to the subsidiaries, which was in breach of what was agreed. It was impossible to work out what was owed by EPG and what was owed by the subsidiaries.
EPG was not responsible for the fees due by other companies and he informed Copsey Murray of this, Mr Marley said.
While Copsey Murray initially invoiced individual companies, it reverted to its early practise and did not provide him with a breakdown of fees, he said.
Mr Marley moved to London last November and did not know about the petition until it appeared in the newspapers after which he instructed solicitors.
In her judgment said she was satisfied that the petition did not constitute an abuse of process as contended by EPG. Having regard to what transpired between the parties it was impossible to conclude that EPG was bona fide disputing the debt or that it had substantial grounds for disputing the debt.
The judge said Copsey Murray had produced documentary evidence that EPG was its client, and EPG had assumed the responsibility for the fees incurred in respect of work done, not just for EPG but also for its subsidiaries and associated companies.
"Not one shred of documentary evidence has been adduced by the company in support of its contention that EPG was not responsible for the fees incurred in relation to the subsidiaries and associated companies" the Judge said.
In addition the judge said that during the three year period that Copsey Murray were engaged there was no documentary evidence that EPG questioned the manner in which the auditors were invoicing for work done.
The judge also that in forming the court's decision to liquidate the company she did not attach any significance or weight to submissions by other parties including the liquidators of Space Student Living Ltd, a company of which Mr Marley was a director and which claims to be owed STG£480,000 by Ely.
The liquidators had supported the petition and had serious concerns about a series of transactions made, before their appointment in 2012, from Space to Ely and the court heard they had been in contact with the Garda and UK police about the matter.
Mr Marley had rejected as untrue the claims made by the liquidators of Space Student Accommodations.
After making an order winding up the firm the judge further directed that Mr Marley swear a statement of affairs within 21 days and listed the matter in the Examiner's court on a date after Easter.