FORMER Taoiseach Brian Cowen is one of a number of Irish investors involved in a dispute with an English law firm which advised them when they bought student flats in Leeds.
Hurling legend Michael Duignan is also among 40 investors who have taken High Court action in England saying they lost money.
They accuse Punch Robson Solicitors, a legal firm which has offices in Middlesbrough, of negligence.
Solicitor Chris Waters, who is representing claimants, said the dispute involves student accommodation in Carr Mills in Leeds.
Mr Waters said the development was completed around 12 years ago and that the “anticipated value” of total damages is £14m.
“The claimants all have vast outstanding liabilities with various Irish banks, but primarily the Allied Irish Bank,” said Mr Waters, of London-based firm Meaby & Co.
“The anticipated value of the claim is £14m.
"The claimants’ claim against the defendant seeks restitution...an account of profits, equitable compensation or alternatively damages in respect of loss and damage sustained by the claimants in consequence of the defendant’s breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence.
“We are aware that UK-based investment schemes of this nature were prominent with Irish investors between 2004 and 2008. At the time, these investment schemes were being sold as having low or no risk with participants generally funding purchases with the benefit of 100 per cent mortgages.”
Mr Waters said the 40 investors paid around £270,000 for apartments, which were recently sold for just £72,000.
“Properties were often overvalued or failed to perform in line with representations made. Some of these developments have gone into receivership leaving participants with significant outstanding liabilities,” Mr Waters explained.
He added: “Hundreds of Irish citizens who bought into ‘risk-free’ schemes have been left with crippling life-time debt. We’re keen to hear from anyone affected.”
When contacted by The Irish Post, Punch Robson confirmed it was involved in the case but declined to comment on the allegations.