Owners of commercial property in Dublin settle aspect of claim alleging fraud against UK firm
Posted on 21st February 2023 at 20:07
The settlement involves the former tenant of the building and the Property Registration Authority
The owners of a Dublin commercial property who are suing a UK-based company for allegedly fraudulently registering itself as being the proprietor of the building have resolved High Court proceedings brought against third parties.
The settlement was against the former tenant of the building and the Property Registration Authority (PRA), against whom no claims of fraud have been made.
Michael O’Shea and Eithne Uí Riordan, who are the owners of an office block known as ADT House, Crossguns Bridge, Phibsboro Road, Dublin 7 sued SLGI (Holdings) Plc, with an address at Paul Street in London, initiated a case in 2018 over an alleged fraud.
Represented by Stephen Dowling SC, instructed by solicitor Martin Archer, the owners claim that SLGI had wrongly held itself out to be the owners of property and had unlawfully entered into an agreement with the then tenant, ADT Ltd, to terminate the lease.
The court heard that ADT, which sells security systems, had claimed that in 2017 it had been contacted by a solicitor acting for SLGI.
It was claimed that SLGI informed the tenant it had acquired the building and that SLGI had registered its purported ownership with the Land Registry. It was also claimed that SLGI had been registered with the PRA as being the owner of the property following a purported conveyance in 2016.
The owners were told that following discussions with SLGI, ADT accepted a purported surrender of the lease.
It was claimed that SLGI was paid some €246,000 by ADT to exit the lease agreement, which at the time had two years to run.
The owners, who acquired the property in 1993, only became aware of matters in March 2018 when they stopped getting rent from the tenant.
That purported termination of the lease agreed between ADT and SLGI was an unlawful transaction, as SLGI were never the property’s lawful owners, the owners claim.
As a result, the owners commenced proceedings against SLGI in 2018, seeking various orders including one preventing that defendant from holding itself out to have any authority to deal with the property.
The plaintiffs also sued ADT Ltd and a related company, American District Telegraph Services International Ltd, which had allegedly guaranteed the lease, over the purported breaking of the lease agreement, and the Property Registration Authority in relation to the registration of the premises.
No fraud was alleged against those parties.
When the matter returned before the High Court on Tuesday, Mr Justice Brian O’Moore was told by Mr Dowling that the proceedings against the ADT parties and the PRA, but not SLGI, have been settled.
Counsel said that the dispute against ADT related to the lease agreement over the building, and a settlement had been agreed between the parties.
No details of the settlement were given in open court.
The owners had previously secured a High Court order rectifying the land registry, setting aside SLGI as being the registered owner of the office block.
Counsel asked the court to adjourn the matter, to allow for the implementation of the settlement, to a date in April.
Mr Dowling told the court that proceedings against the PRA, represented by Micheál Ó Connell SC, had also been resolved.
ADT and the related company, represented by Eoghan Cole BL, instructed by solicitor Aonghus McLafferty of Eversheds consented to the adjournment.
The court heard that Irish solicitors representing SLGI intend to bring a motion before the court in April seeking to come off record for that defendant.
Mr Justice O’Moore welcomed the proposed settlement and agreed to adjourn the case.
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