Developer claims 'clerical error' exempts him from paying £800k

Developer claims 'clerical error' exempts him from paying £800k


A property developer who tried to escape paying an £800,000 personal guarantee by citing a ‘clerical error’ has been ordered to cough up the money by a High Court.

In 2007, Raymond Acheson from Northern Ireland offered a personal guarantee to Ulster Bank against borrowings of his company Euro Construction Corporation.

Acheson’s business went into administration two years ago while still owing Ulster Bank a whopping £2.7 million. The bank then called in the personal guarantee Acheson had made with them.

However, in his evidence he cited that the personal guarantee referred to his southern-registered Euro Construction Company, which had been dissolved in 1986, and therefore he was not liable for the debts.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the court disagreed with Acheson’s side of the story and Mr Justice Weatherup said there was “no arguable defence” to Ulster Bank’s claim.

“The funds are shown to have been made available by the plaintiff and to be due by the Corporation to the plaintiff.

“The defendant was the guarantor of the Corporation’s debt to a limit of £800,000. The guarantee was called in.”

The bank stated that the reference to the other company was in fact a clerical error and it had only lent to the Corporation company, which is registered to Acheson’s address. The bank’s associate director sent an affidavit saying it was the “clear intention” of all parties that the guarantee was security for the Corporation business’ borrowings.

Undeterred, Acheson – who used the borrowed money to purchase property in the Republic of Ireland – claimed the document alone wasn’t sufficient evidence enough for the court to allow it to interpret the document as referring to the Corporation rather than the Company.

However, they that it was and he was ordered to pay £830,443.83, the sum of the guarantee plus interest.

Talking to the Belfast Telegraph, insolvency solicitor Maria Glover of Napier and Sons said: “Few directors ever believed that they would be called in, never mind withstand legal challenge, and are now faced with crippling liabilities which threaten their own personal solvency.”

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