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Bank Secures €7.9M Ruling Over Egg Firm

by 5m Editor
29 January 2010, at 11:01am

IRELAND - Bank of Ireland has secured judgment for some €7.9 million against a Co Galway man who is facing trial in Britain in connection with an alleged multimillion-euro fraud involving eggs being falsely passed on to British consumer as free-range organic eggs.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday granted the €7.9 million judgment against Pearse Piggott (48), a former Galway hurling star and all-Ireland medal winner, and his wife, Noelle, Ballyglennon, Gort. The judgment orders were not contested.

The British authorities last year sought the extradition of Mr Piggott, who runs egg-distribution firm Pearse Piggott Sons, over his alleged involvement in a fraud between 2004 and late 2007 where eggs from caged hens were passed off to British consumers as being free-range or organic.

Mr Piggott, who has denied the charges against him including conspiracy to defraud, consented to his extradition. The trial of himself and others related to the alleged fraud has been adjourned to March next. It is alleged that production numbers on eggs were altered, the names of the suppliers were incorrect and the fraud netted a profit of £1.59 million.

In its action, BoI claimed summary judgment arising from loans advanced to the couple between February 2006 and November 2007 to restructure existing loans, purchase a pub and adjoining investment property and to invest in certain residential and industrial property.

According to IrishTimes.com, the bank claimed the defendants agreed in January 2009 to repay all sums due by 30 April that year, preceded by a specific lump-sum reduction spread between the loans.

That reduction was not made and the facilities were not cleared by April, but the bank agreed to continue the lending facilities provided money was paid for interest. Some €25,000 was paid by June 2009.

The bank learned from media reports on 11 June that year that the British revenue was seeking the extradition of Mr Piggott over his alleged involvement in an egg fraud and later told the defendants they had 21 days to arrange payment of their loans.

When proposals were not made concerning repayments, it issued letters in August 2009 demanding immediate repayment.

Mr Piggott in October put without prejudice proposals to the bank and payments of some €12,000 were also made.