As an ex-Non-Executive Director of the holding company BIPEP, I am not a party to the Liquidation proceedings and cannot publicly comment on any aspect of the due process of the Liquidator who, amongst other tasks, will be compiling the final few years Financial Accounts. I was a Non-Executive Director of the holding company BIPEP from which I retired 2.3 years before its liquidation, I was not a Director of any subsidiary, not involved in the day-to-day running of the business or a subsidiary and throughout my tenure the annual accounts of BIPEP were audited by PwC, AGMs were held where strategy was discussed, newsletters issued and, up to my departure, the audited accounts reported cash at c. €1.6m, twice liabilities and overall assets exceeding liabilities by c. €5.5m. Net assets stood at this time at 44% of the opening equity in 2007 with up to three years to go before maturity at the end of the 10th year.
I cannot be expected, as a former Non-Executive Director, to answer questions on the day-to-day operations that ought properly to be put to the Executive Directors by the Liquidator directly or questions on matters that arose after my tenure, when I’d left the company.
Some media coverage may give the impression that I was managing the day-to-day affairs of the company. I was not. As outlined in the Prospectus I acted as a Non-Executive Director together with Senior Counsel, Dermot Flanagan, as Chairman of BIPEP. As outlined in the public Prospectus, I was not a property asset management professional.
At all times, I fulfilled my duties as detailed in the public Prospectus, during my tenure as a Non-Executive Director at the Board level for BIPEP. Throughout my tenure to March 2015 I always acted with integrity, participated in meetings and AGMs, constructively challenged when required, assisted in decisions on the basis of information presented to me at the time and properly discharged my duties as a Non-Executive Director.
The initial direct public offer and application for shares in 2007 was at the standards of the EU Prospectus Directive and approved by IFSRA, which described the risks in the offer, including the dependency on the Executive team, as the full-time property professionals. The Executive undertook all due diligence in Europe and elsewhere and managed and controlled the day-to-day affairs of the business including in Detroit through subsidiaries under their control and reporting to the board of BIPEP. During my tenure the affairs of the business were audited, upon which I’m entitled to rely, including the adherence to the annual fees outlined in the public Prospectus.
Throughout my tenure Annual Audited Financial Accounts were produced by PwC and reported in detail on the company position, this included the 2013 Accounts and 2014 Accounts, which became available after I had retired and left the company:
- The audit to 31st December 2014 reported net assets of c. €5.525m, that is about 44% of opening equity of the company in 2007 of which €1.6m was cash in the bank.
- In parallel, in the 2015 AGM held after I retired and left the company, the Executive Directors outlined its plan to grow the then assets of the company over the remaining three years to 70% or more of the opening equity.
- Therefore, I left a business stabilised and with a clear direction as to its objectives. That is why the catastrophic outcome announced by the Managing Director in 2017 came as a shock, notwithstanding the impact of the lead water crisis which broke upon on the marketplace in 2016. I’m deeply saddened by this outcome for all investors who, like myself, have lost their money (in my case over 50 times the average lost, some €600k).
Needless to say, I’m dismayed that the business failed in 2017 and that it has led to full losses for all investors, because losses of any scale are rotten, so I understand how let down and annoyed investors feel. The company is now going through a formal liquidation, which I am required to respect and so, until that is complete, I cannot make any further public comment.