Bankruptcy court asked to adjourn application
AN APPLICATION to examine Seán FitzPatrick about the ownership of a high-rise office block in London could prejudice criminal proceedings against the former Anglo Irish Bank chairman, the High Court has heard.
In the bankruptcy court yesterday, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne was asked by lawyers representing Mr Fitzpatrick to adjourn an application by the Official Assignee in bankruptcy, Chris Lehane, to cross-examine Mr Fitzpatrick about ownership of the Woolgate Exchange building.
A solicitor for Mr FitzPatrick, of Greystones, Co Wicklow, said the adjournment was being sought because the examination of his client might give rise to a perception of prejudice.
Lawyers for Mr Lehane, whose task is to administer the estate of Mr Fitzpatrick for the benefit of his creditors, said there was “no connection” between the issue about which Mr FitzPatrick was to be examined and the criminal proceedings against him.
Ms Justice Dunne said that, while she was conscious of the criminal proceedings, she wanted any alleged prejudice arising out of the proposal to examine Mr Fitzpatrick outlined in a sworn statement to the court. She adjourned the matter for two weeks so that a statement could be prepared.
The High Court officially declared Mr FitzPatrick bankrupt in July 2010 after being informed that he had failed to get sufficient support from his creditors for a private settlement scheme to pay off his debts. The former bank chairman is estimated to have debts of €150 million and assets of €47 million.
In the same court yesterday, Ms Justice Dunne adjourned an application by developer Thomas McFeely to review the court’s decision to adjudicate him bankrupt. He was declared bankrupt last July after the judge rejected his arguments his centre of main business interest is the UK.
Mr McFeely was previously adjudicated bankrupt in England and Wales by a London court but this decision was later rescinded.