Liquidator of firm behind Co Monaghan hotel seeks orders to sell

Nubility Captial Limited was to purchase the Nuremore Hotel and Country Club, Carrickmacross in 2020

The liquidator of a company that acquired a four star hotel and country club in Co Monaghan has asked the High Court for orders allowing him to maintain and ultimately sell the property for the benefit of the creditors.

The application was made in respect of Nubility Captial Limited, an entity in voluntary liquidation, whose sole purpose was to purchase the Nuremore Hotel and Country Club, Carrickmacross in 2020.

The hotel is not currently operating.

Insolvency practitioner Declan De Lacy was appointed as Nubility’s liquidator by its creditors in May, 2023.

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Nubility is a subsidiary of Huawen Foundation Limited, and Chinese/British businessman Mr KaI Dai, whose current whereabouts the court heard is unknown, is the director of both entities.

Mr De Lacy was also appointed as the official liquidator of Huawen, and other related entities within the same group of companies by the High Court in 2023.

The parent company, which loaned Nubility €8 million to buy the hotel between 2018 and 2020, was wound up following an application by a Chinese-based creditor of the company, which was supported by Revenue.

The liquidator, who is currently conducting a probe into the Huawen’s affairs says that post sent to Mr Dai has been returned marked undelivered and Mr Dai has not replied to any emails sent to him by the liquidator.

At the High Court on Thursday, Mr De Lacy asked the court for various orders under the 2014 Companies Act, including one placing the hotel and golf club into the liquidator’s name.

Represented by Neal Flynn BL, instructed by Peter Boyle & Co Solicitors, Mr De Lacy also seeks an order that would allow him to enter into a loan agreement to pay for the ongoing costs of maintaining the property.

Counsel said Nubility was placed into voluntary liquidation by the firm’s creditors in May, 2023 after Mr De Lacy appointed his own directors to the company.

Counsel said that one of the reason the orders are being sought is that the transfer deeds, by which the previous owners conveyed their interest in the hotel to Nubility are missing.

In addition, Nubility’s interest in the hotel has never been registered with the Property Registration Authority, and stamp duty has not been paid to Revenue on the purchase.

Counsel said that while the hotel is not currently operating, the costs of maintaining the property are quite considerable at tens of thousands of euro per month.

The costs include insurance, golf course maintenance, and 24-hour security.

The court heard that contrary to local rumours there are no plans to use the hotel to house those seeking international protection. The liquidator wishes to sell the property in order to satisfy the various creditors.

However, there are concerns that the property, like others around the country, could be targeted by arsonists, which is why the liquidator has 24-hour security in place.

The court heard that Huawen raised investment funds, mainly from non-EU investors, for the purposes of the Immigrant Investment Programme, which was scrapped by the Government last year.

The amount of money invested in Huawen has been estimated by the liquidator to be in the region of €65 million.

The money borrowed by Huawen, converted into loan notes, were due to be repaid to investors in 2022.

However the company failed to repay them, the liquidator claims.

This resulted in debt collection proceedings being issued against the group, and the firms being placed into liquidation.

Mr De Lacy said it was “clear” from his investigations into the parent company that there has been “dissipation of Huawen’s assets” and money is unaccounted for.

The liquidator claims Mr Dai has not co-operated with him in relation to the various company affairs.

Arthur Cunningham BL for Revenue, which is a creditor, said his client was supporting the liquidator’s application in relation to Nubility.

The matter came before Mr Justice Mark Sanfey on Thursday. The judge granted the liquidator permission to serve short notice of the application on various relevant parties.

The matter will return before the court next week.