Irish businessman has bankruptcy extended over Koh Samui property

Published on 10/02/2023

The insolvency of a well-renowned Irish entrepreneur has been prolonged by the High Court for a duration exceeding three years, following the discovery by a judge that the individual had been untruthful in regards to his possession of a resort property in Thailand valued at €700,000. Pursuant to bankruptcy regulations, an individual declared bankrupt is obligated to declare all their assets to facilitate the distribution of any available funds to creditors.

In the case of Mr. Kenneth Joyce, a prominent spokesman for the Alienated Children First action group, the official overseeing his bankruptcy declared that his declaration of assets was “deceptive and misleading”. The official stated that Mr. Joyce was the sole director of the company that held ownership of the Thai property, which was being leased for an amount up to $1,600 per night, however, he made contradictory claims, asserting that the property was either in a state of disrepair or had been sold.

Mr. Joyce, a former inhabitant of Hong Kong, was the founding chairman of the Ireland Fund of China and has had the privilege of attending functions alongside prominent figures such as former President of the United States, Mr. Bill Clinton.

Judge Mark Sanfey noted that Mr. Joyce had been declared bankrupt in November 2021, and that in March 2022 he had stated his assets to be worth less than €6,000. Subsequently, he proclaimed that the household assets that were seized from his residence in Foxrock, Co. Dublin, were worth €141,890 and should be considered as a means of “offsetting” his debts. The judge stated, “No corroboration has been furnished by the bankrupt for these values, and indeed a perusal of the list reveals that the values are plucked from the air, and in many cases fanciful in the extreme: a CD library is valued at €30,000 and a DVD collection is also estimated at €30,000.”

The judge further stated that the county sheriff reported having not made any seizures from the property, while the landlord mentioned that Mr. Joyce had been given the opportunity to retrieve any personal belongings.

Additionally, Mr. Joyce listed a 100% ownership in Gravity Electricity Ltd, of which he allegedly failed to resign as director, as is required of a bankrupt individual.

The judge emphasized that the most significant issue pertained to a property located in the Hua Thanon beach resort in Koh Samui, Thailand. The judge declared, “In the statement of affairs, the bankrupt lists a one eighth share in a timeshare rental property in Thailand as having a current estimated value of €60,000 plus a mortgage amounting to €80,000, with a consequent negative estimated value of €20,000,” Said the Judge. He affirmed in the statement of affairs that the Thai property is unoccupied and not being rented.”

In an email sent in April 2022, Mr. Joyce claimed that the Thai property had been transferred to his spouse around 2012 and that he had sold it for €10,000.

The judge pointed out that the official in charge of Mr. Joyce’s bankruptcy, known as the official assignee (OA), had presented the court with an email from August 2013, in which Mr. Joyce stated that the property was worth a minimum of €700,000. The judge went on to mention, “Internet searches made in November of 2022 and exhibited by the OA show the property to be listed for rental at $775 – $1,605 per night”

In a recent letter addressed to the OA, Mr. Joyce persistently maintained that the property was in a state of disrepair.

Nevertheless, he has recently acknowledged to the official assignee (OA) that there was never any mortgage on the property and that he is the sole director of the company that owns it. Judge Mark Sanfey noted that Mr. Joyce had admitted to having “errors and inconsistencies” in the information provided to the OA. The judge stated, “He emphasised that he didn’t have the benefit of any legal advice in this regard and candidly and rather disarmingly he acknowledged that he had ‘royally messed up’ in relation to certain issues. He insisted however, that he had done his best to cooperate”.

The judge also stated that Mr. Joyce’s level of cooperation with the official assignee was “unacceptable”. The judge noted, “Upon review of the correspondence with the bankrupt, it is challenging to avoid the conclusion that he has been avoiding providing a comprehensive and truthful account of the situation regarding the Thai property. Instead, he has provided responses to inquiries on a piecemeal basis, not with the aim of imparting valuable information, but to complicate the situation and render it unclear.”

In accordance with Irish legislation, bankruptcy proceedings typically only last for a duration of one year.

As a result of his findings, the judge decreed to extend Mr. Joyce’s bankruptcy until the month of May in 2026.

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