WESTLIFE singer Shane Filan faces losing everything in the property crash and is now set to relaunch his pop career in an attempt to revive his fortunes.
Filan, one of Ireland’s biggest pop stars, is believed to be in debt for up to €23m, according to well-placed financial sources.
The singer is reportedly in the process of cutting a deal with creditors by entering an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) in Britain.
Sources say he has employed a leading firm of London accountants and is currently negotiating financial arrangements with his banks — including Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland — as a way of avoiding bankruptcy.
An IVA is a way of having debt written off if existing assets are sold to raise money for creditors.
It is understood in financial circles that Filan is attempting to keep earnings from the impending Westlife farewell tour out of the current negotiations.
This weekend his manager Louis Walsh, although refusing to be drawn on a figure for the Sligo man’s total losses in the property business, confirmed that the singer was about to start afresh.
“He’s wiping the slate clean and starting over,” said Walsh. “He is going to be fine.
“He has a massive solo deal in the pipeline and is going to be a massive, massive star.
“He is set to make millions from the Westlife farewell tour. They have sold out two dates at Croke Park — that alone is huge — and then he will make millions from the solo career too.”
The manager also said that he would be standing by his number one pop star and helping to get him back on his feet:
“I am 100 per cent sticking by him through this. He is facing up to it and doing it [in] a very honourable and honest way. And you have to respect him for that.”
He added: “Shane has something that you can’t buy, that no one else in Ireland has. He has a million-dollar voice. He’ll be okay.
“We’re meeting with record companies and I’m going to make him the next Michael Buble.
“I have big plans for Shane, there is huge interest and you know me when I say to watch this space. Shane’s future is very bright.”
Both Filan and Walsh have been in talks with several record companies in London in recent days.
It is believed that at least four different labels are making a bid to sign the Sligo father of three and release his debut solo album at the end of next year.
As a source explained: “There’s four, possibly five labels so far who have made it very clear that they want Shane.
“He already has loads of ideas about the kind of album he wants to make and the road he wants to go down.
“He and Louis have have had back-to-back meetings with the heads of the UK’s biggest record companies and he has his pick of deals.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time, just as he needs to start again. But Louis has taken him under his wing and will always look after him.”
Sources say that the money-spinning Westlife farewell tour is set to net the band more than €12m.
And Filan is thrashing out a deal so that this and all future earnings will remain untouched by his creditors.
The 32-year-old — who has sold 43 million records worldwide with Westlife, one of the biggest boy bands of all time — is currently being sued by Bank of Ireland for unpaid debts.
Filan auctioned off his James Bond-style Aston Martin for €398,000 last September. He had bought it just two years earlier as a birthday present to himself.
A spokeswoman for the Westlife star said Filan would not be commenting