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WAY OUT Bankrupt Irish Flee to U.K. Peter Muhly, AFP / Getty Images

Bankrupt Irish Flee to U.K.

What do you do if you can’t pay your debts in Ireland? You start by leaving Ireland. The Financial Times reports that “bankruptcy tourists”—sophisticated investors caught in Ireland’s real-estate crash—are fleeing to the U.K. to escape harsh bankruptcy laws that can make the process take 12 years in Ireland. In the U.K., where most of these exiles go, bankruptcy takes only one year. That's an attractive prospect to the 300,000 Irish mortgage holders in negative equity, who have seen their property values decline 50 to 60 percent. At least one company, IrishBankruptcyUK, has been started to help Irish “tourists” navigate the U.K. insolvency process.

December 20, 2011 10:14 AM