Through his companies, Liam Carroll began buying shares in publicly quoted companies in 2006, creating an initial splash with the acquisition of more than 21% of Greencore for €170m, a stake worth just €49m last Friday. He subsequently bought further shares in the company.

He also built up stakes in Irish Continental Group and house-builder McInerney and bought shares in Aer Lingus but offloaded his stake in the airline at a significant loss. To date, company accounts show that he has lost €260m on the equities, but some in the property industry suspect he may have lost more than €500m on stockmarket investments. Some of the monies for the share purchases were advanced by a company called Ronnie Rentals which recently changed its annual return date, meaning it will not have to file accounts until later this year.

Carroll – who lives in an ordinary suburban semi-detached home and drives a Toyota Avensis, earning him the nickname 'shycoon' – told the High Court last month that he held assets worth €259.5m, while his bank debt stood at €149m, and that he receives annual rental income of €9.85m while paying annual interest of €7.9m. However, Irish Nationwide is currently pursuing the developer for a €60m personal guarantee, the value of which Carroll disputes.

In addition, he is personally named in Noel Smyth's case relating to The Square. Smyth is seeking €140m in damages from Carroll, Tom McFeely and Larry O'Mahony and related companies (see page 4).

Neil Callanan