Property developer Conor Clarkson faces bankruptcy over forgery

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A creditor has sought the bankruptcy of well-known businessman and horse racing figure Conor Clarkson.

The application came before the High Court yesterday, just over a year after Mr Clarkson abandoned a bid to have more than €70m in debts written off after it was discovered he had forged a document.

The property developer, with an address in Stepaside, Co Dublin, was a prominent figure in racing circles and owned Kicking King, which won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2005 and generated over €900,000 in prize money.

His bankruptcy is now being sought by creditor Tom Flood over an unpaid debt of €150,000.

The petition was listed before the High Court yesterday. However, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys was told that following talks between the parties, the matter could be adjourned to next month.

Stephen Brady BL, for the creditor, said Mr Clarkson was “to take certain steps so as to bring about the compromise of the petition”.

The barrister said that if Mr Clarkson failed to take these steps, it had been agreed “certain default consent orders” could be made next month.

The steps Mr Clarkson has agreed to take were not outlined in court.

His counsel Keith Farry BL consented to the adjournment.

During the Celtic Tiger era, Mr Clarkson was involved in the selling and letting of property in Ireland and abroad and had a stake in a charter airline.

With the support of Irish Nationwide Building Society, his company Ardenhill Property invested in property in the north of England.

But after the financial crash of 2008, Irish Nationwide appointed receivers to four of his property development companies and personal assets in a bid to recover debts of around €40m.

The debts ended up in Nama and were later sold to Promontoria (Arrow) Ltd, an Irish affiliate of vulture fund Cerberus.

The fund is his largest creditor and was owed €64m as of December 2019.

Mr Clarkson acknowledged he was facing the possibility of bankruptcy after he had to withdraw an application for a personal insolvency arrangement that month.

He had faced questions in court about his personal expenditure from lawyers for Promontoria, in particular queries about more than €4,000 labelled ‘NCL Reservations’ on a bank statement.

It was suggested to him this may have been money spent with the cruise company Norwegian Cruise Line.

Mr Clarkson denied this, saying it related to purchases from an English company, First National Computers Limited. He produced an invoice in support of this claim.

But Mr Justice Denis McDonald found the document had been created by Mr Clarkson and was a forgery.

Mr Clarkson later said he had been under a huge amount of pressure and made a mistake.

Irish Independent

Source: Irish News