Judge grants solicitor permission to cease representing O'Donnells
A SOLICITOR who stepped in last week to represent solicitor Brian O’Donnell in court proceedings aimed at enforcing a €75 million judgment was yesterday given permission to cease representing Mr O’Donnell, his wife and three linked companies.
In what Mr Justice Kelly described as “another chapter in this extraordinary saga”, the Commercial Court was told Galway solicitor Vincent Sheils wanted to come “off record” for the O’Donnells and the companies.
Mr Sheils had asked the court a week ago to be permitted come “on record” after the O’Donnells previous solicitor Paul Kerrigan secured permission to cease representing them on grounds including a breakdown of trust with his clients.
The O’Donnells are being pursued by Bank of Ireland in relation to a €75 million judgment obtained against them over property investment loans.
The bank is also seeking to determine the value and ownership of the contents of the O’Donnells’ home in Gorse Hill, Killiney, Co Dublin, and another luxury property at Barton Street in London. The bank claims the contents are owned by the couple and not by trusts as the O’Donnells allege. The trusts are a sham, it claims.
The alleged trusts are in three companies registered in the Isle of Man and Jersey and the O’Donnells claim their four adult children are the beneficiaries of those trusts.
The O’Donnell children are contesting the bank’s claim on the property and they yesterday asked the court to direct the bank to provide more details, particularly in relation to its claims the trusts are a sham. Mr Justice Kelly rejected the application for more particulars and said this was a straightforward matter in which adequate details had already been supplied. The hearing of the matter should go ahead next October, he said.
Earlier, the judge granted permission to Mr Sheils to cease representing the O’Donnells and their companies after he was told by their counsel that Mr Sheils was “just not getting instructions”.
The judge granted permission for Peter Nugent and Co to come “on record” in relation to two of the three linked companies, Vico Ltd and Vico Barton Ltd.
The court also heard an email had been sent on behalf of the third company, Chancery Trustees Ltd, saying it had no funds to instruct solicitors. The company wanted to distribute its assets to the beneficiaries of the trust but the beneficiaries had refused to accept the distribution, the email stated. Last week, Mr Justice Kelly said he was becoming suspicious that “games” may be being played in the case and stressed he would not tolerate any abuse of the court’s process.