Another loss for Sir Anthony O’Reilly

Sir Anthony O'Reilly, the former business titan and British Lion rugby star, has now lost another luxurious residence to his bankruptcy trustee.

His painful fall from billionaire status to bankrupt was charted in this Newsroom story last month. After losing three multi-million dollar homes in Ireland to the bankruptcy forced by Allied Irish Bank, he had been residing in a beachfront home in the Bahamas.

However the Supreme Court of the Bahamas approved the sale of that property in the exclusive Lyford Cay gated resort, and it has now sold for €12m.

The Bahamas haven on three acres is the latest of his assets to have been taken.  

He still has, with wife and multi-millionairess Chryss, a chateau at Deauville in France, reputedly built on the ruins of the castle where William the Conqueror plotted his 1066 invasion of England.

The contents of one of his Irish homes, Castlemartin in Kildare, Ireland, were sold in an auction at a country pub. Items included a stuffed tiger's head and a pair of console tables which sold for €145,000. A 24-seat mahogany dining table, at which, the Irish Times reported, O'Reilly had entertained Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela, also sold for €30,000.

Court actions in the Bahamas and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are attempting to unravel other assets associated with Sir Anthony.

Catherine Williamson, for the bankruptcy trustee, Alastair Beveridge, of Alix Partners, London, has told interested parties the furniture auction realised just €292,065 in total, after costs.

The major businesses associated with O'Reilly are well documented. But the bankruptcy action is pursuing lower profile investments.

O'Reilly's personal business interests, after leaving the chairman's role at HJ Heinz and Co, once spanned newspapers (Independent News and Media Ltd, once owner of the New Zealand Herald and papers in six countries), fine china and glassware (Waterford Wedgwod) and oil exploration (Providence Resources) among others.

He was ousted from INM and his family shareholding diluted to insignificance, Waterford Wedgwood collapsed, and now court action has moved to transfer his final Providence shareholdings into the trustee's name.

Williamson's letter to parties involved in the process revealed O'Reilly was an unsecured creditor in a company called Indexia Holdings Ltd, which is in liquidation in Cyprus. It held shares in Dromoland Castle Holdings Ltd, an Irish real estate services company for which his son Gavin O'Reilly is listed as a director, but the bankruptcy trustee must wait in line to realise any money from them as the Allied Irish Bank is first in line.

Last on the list of assets is the multimillion dollar art collection. The trustee says a detailed investigation into the history of the artworks owned by Sir Anthony has been conducted "and the residual investigation points remain ongoing".

Read more: The rise and fall of a billionaire British Lion

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