Solicitor loses bid to have court scrutiny of his assets adjourned
A JUDGE has rejected claims by solicitor Brian O’Donnell that his continued court examination by Bank of Ireland about his assets in its bid to enforce a €75 million judgment is “unfair” when the bank has brought bankruptcy and other proceedings against him.
The bank had described as “audacious” and “laughable” Mr O’Donnell’s argument that the examination should be adjourned because, he claimed, it is unfair and further reducing assets available to his creditors.
The bank is also blocking a proposed €5.66 million sale of a ski chalet in France, he complained.
In seeking adjournment of the examination and a stay on other proceedings by the bank against his family, Mr O’Donnell said he was being forced to fight on several fronts to the disadvantage of his estate and the bank was trying “to have its cake and eat it”.
Paul Gardiner SC, for the bank, said it was not dissipating the assets of the O’Donnells but was concerned that those assets were being, and had been, dissipated by Mr O’Donnell despite he and his wife seeking bankruptcy in the UK last March.
The bank had €3.9 million secured on the French ski chalet, which Mr O’Donnell previously valued at €6.9 million, counsel said.
That left a large sum “floating around”.
Counsel said large shareholdings of Mr O’Donnell and his wife in a number of companies had been diluted to “infinitesimal” shareholdings.
Replying, Mr O’Donnell said fair procedures and natural justice entitled him to an adjournment.
Refusing the adjournment, Mr Justice Kelly said the bank believed Mr O’Donnell was orchestrating steps, or had an involvement in steps, to put assets beyond its reach.