Bank can pursue bid to make Dunne bankrupt after ruling
Connecticut bankruptcy judge Alan Shiff last month gave the bank permission to continue its legal bid
Sean Dunne attends Federal Court in New Haven, Connecticut
Ulster Bank can proceed in its attempt to make Seán Dunne bankrupt in Ireland after a US bankruptcy judge denied the developer’s application to put a hold on the judge’s ruling in favour of the bank pending Mr Dunne’s appeal.
Connecticut bankruptcy judge Alan Shiff last month gave the bank permission to continue its legal bid to have Mr Dunne declared bankrupt in Ireland in parallel with his bankruptcy in the US.
Mr Dunne sought to put a stay on that ruling pending an appeal.
Judge Shiff said in a ruling yesterday that Mr Dunne’s ability to be discharged from his debts in the States would “not be irreparably injured” if the bank was allowed to proceed with its bankruptcy case in Ireland.
The judge also found that Mr Dunne had not proven that he would be irreparably harmed by the parallel bankruptcies.
“Mr Dunne’s ‘parade of horribles’ of what may occur if there is a dual proceeding in Ireland is ‘speculative’,” said the judge.
The judge said the developer did not challenge the fact that Ulster Bank had filed its Irish bankruptcy petition on February 12th, six weeks before he filed for bankruptcy in Connecticut where he now lives.
The trustee, who is liquidating Mr Dunne’s assets for his creditors, had determined that the Irish bankruptcy case would benefit his creditors, the judge said.
The court could issue any order to help the trustee perform his statutory duties, he said.
The judge denied the stay because his order was a way of allowing the trustee to manage Mr Dunne’s estate for the benefit of his creditors.
The court order was “a mechanism” to facilitate the trustee’s authority by recognising the “interwoven interests” of two countries in the property and creditors of Mr Dunne’s estate, the judge said.
Ulster Bank, which has a judgment of €164 million against Mr Dunne, had argued that its Irish bankruptcy case should be allowed to proceed as the Co Carlow developer’s properties were primarily in Ireland and his debts, estimated at about €745 million, were held by non-US creditors.
Judge Shiff also concluded there was nothing in Mr Dunne’s filed bankruptcy records to support a claim by his wife, Gayle Killilea, that she was a creditor with a claim against his estate.