Northern Ireland

Property brothers Taggarts 'ordered to pay bank £8.5m'

Two brothers whose house building empire collapsed in the property crash must pay a bank more than £8.5m in personal guarantees, a court has ruled.

Michael and John Taggart were held liable for loans made by Ulster Bank before they went into administration in 2008.

The High Court in Belfast made the ruling with regard to two separate writs against the brothers for the sums of £5m and 4.3m euros.

The brothers said they would appeal.

Proceedings were brought against them over joint personal guarantees for borrowings by their companies Taggart Holdings Ltd in Northern Ireland and Taggart Homes Ireland Ltd in the Republic.

Much of the case centred on a dispute over whether or not these guarantees were temporary. The brothers argued they did not have the benefit of legal advice before they signed.

The firm was a major success story during the property boom, with the brothers believed to have amassed huge personal fortunes.

But in 2008, their business became one of the highest-profile casualties of the crash.

The Taggarts have filed a separate multi-million pound lawsuit against the Ulster Bank, claiming the bank acted prematurely when administrators were called in.