Sir Anthony O’Reilly sued by Allied Irish Bank over unpaid loans

Financial difficulties for former Heinz boss Tony O'Reilly laid bare.

Allied Irish Banks (AIB) has made a court move to force Sir Anthony O'Reilly, 78, the former billionaire and ex-chief executive of Independent News & Media (INM), to immediately repay loans of $5.5million secured on his luxurious holiday home in Glandore in west Cork.

The founder of the American Ireland Fund is said to have experienced considerable financial difficulties in recent times.

The Irish Times reports that the bank is to seek a High Court judgement against the former media mogul, whose family was ousted from INM two years ago.

AIB will reportedly seek judgements against 'Brookside Investments,' the company that owns the palatial coastal retreat in Glandore, as well as 'Indexia Holdings,' O'Reilly's private investment vehicle that holds his estimated five percent stake in INM and his share of the oil explorer, Providence Resources.

According to the report, AIB began to make a move on O'Reilly last Friday, when it issued proceedings against him - the first step in obtaining a summary judgement.

O'Reilly, who has a home in the Bahamas and a stud farm in Co. Kildare, will have the opportunity to dispute the claim.

O'Reilly remortgaged his luxury Glandore property, valued at $5.9million, with AIB in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis, not long after he had stepped down as chief executive of INM in favor of his son, Gavin.

AIB reportedly lent him almost $5.5million secured on the property, as well as on Brookside's balance of over $380,000. O'Reilly is also understood to have given the bank a personal guarantee, giving it the right to pursue all of his assets in the event of default.

The Irish Times notes that by the end of 2012 Brookside had zero left in its account, while O'Reilly's loan had surged beyond $5.5million. This month, Indexia also began to sell down his INM stake.

O'Reilly previously also owed the former Anglo Irish Bank over $82million, although this sum was slashed to about $48million when he sold off his stake in smart meter company, Landis+Gyr.

These loans were purchased from the bank by Lone Star four months ago and are also secured on his INM and Providence shares.

Attempts by the Irish Times to contact O'Reilly and his sons were unsuccessful yesterday. AIB Bank also declined to comment on its actions.